Plaintiff's Attempt to Rebrand the IME as the DME: Don't Let It Happen

July 19, 2014
Michael Vescio
SmithAmundsen Milwaukee Alert



A plaintiff in a personal injury action may be required to submit to a physical or mental examination. For example, see Wis. Stats. sec. 804.10(1), Ill Sup. Ct. R. 215 and Fed. R. Civ.P. 35(a). While these examinations have, over the years, always been called “Independent Medical Examinations" (IME's), the plaintiffs’ bar now routinely objects to the use of the term “Independent” and refers to such examinations as “Defense Medical Examinations.” Sometimes, plaintiffs go further. They demand that the court prevent the defense from even using the term “Independent Medical Examination” at trial. They ask the court to adopt the term “Defense Medical Examination” as the court-approved term for such statutorily-allowed examinations and insist that the defense’s expert be called the “Defense Medical Examiner.”

These attempts should be resisted by the defense. Here’s what to tell the court to show that the term “Independent Medical Examination” is the one to use.

Plaintiff’s counsel can try to characterize independent medical examiners in a manner which advances the plaintiff’s case. This is a part of advocacy. However, the defense must fight attempts to scrub the time-honored term “IME” from the trial and to insert plaintiff-friendly language in its place.