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Thompson v. The Haskell Co

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Thompson (Plaintiff), sought to shield from discovery documents related to her that were in the possession of her psychologist, Dr. Laura Lucas (Dr. Lucas).

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The results of physical or mental examinations of a party, prepared prior to litigation are discoverable if there are exceptional circumstances favoring disclosure and comparable information cannot be obtained by other means.

    Facts. Plaintiff alleged that as a result of sexual harassment suit against her by a co- worker Zona, employed by the Defendant, The Haskell Co. (Defendant), Plaintiff was reduced to a severely depressed emotional state and her employment was terminated when she did not acquiesce to the advances of the co-worker. Plaintiff was fired on June 5, 1992. On June 15, 1992 she was examined by Dr. Lucas. Plaintiff sought to shield from discovery documents related to her that were in the possession of her psychologist. She claimed that Dr. Lucas was retained by her prior counsel to perform a diagnostic review and personality profile and that after seeing Plaintiff on one occasion, prepared a report for her prior counsel.

    Issue. Whether the results of a physical or mental examination of party prepared prior to litigation may be discoverable.

    Held. Yes. The court denied the Plaintiff’s motion for a protective order. Where there are exceptional circumstances favoring disclosure of a psychological report prepared prior to litigation, a protective order should be denied where the discovering party could not obtain comparable information through other means.

    Discussion. Here, the court is weighing the probative value of the information against the likelihood that comparable information could be obtained by other means in making an ultimate determination of what is discoverable.


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