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Cindy Lacava v. Merced Irrigation District

April 30, 2011

CINDY LACAVA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MERCED IRRIGATION DISTRICT, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL MENTAL EXAMINATION

(Document 12)

Defendant Merced Irrigation District ("MID") filed the instant motion to compel an independent mental examination pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 35. The matter was heard on April 29, 2011, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Robert Greenfield appeared telephonically on behalf MID. Brady McGuinness appeared on behalf of Plaintiff Cindy LaCava ("Plaintiff").

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed her employment discrimination action against MID on May 14, 2010. According to the complaint, Plaintiff began working at MID in September 2001 as a customer account representative. In March 2002, she was promoted to the position of Meter Reader/Warehouseman. In May 2006, she was again promoted, becoming Manager of Customer Service. While in this position, Plaintiff complained of both sexual harassment and gender discrimination based on disparate pay. After being disciplined in January 2010, Plaintiff prepared a written report to MID's general manager advising that the discipline appeared to be retaliation for pursuing her pending sex discrimination and unequal pay claims. The day after submitting her report, Plaintiff was informed that her employment with MID was being terminated as part of an overall reduction in force. She was placed on administrative leave until her termination became effective.

Plaintiff asserts causes of action for sex discrimination and retaliation. She alleges that she "has suffered . . . general damages in the form of emotional distress." Complaint ¶ 23.

In response to special interrogatories, Plaintiff attributed her mental or emotional injuries to the alleged adverse employment action by MID. Plaintiff also responded that, due to MID's conduct, she began seeking psychological treatment in August 2009. Special Interrogatory 21, Exhibit E to Declaration of Robert Greenfield ("Greenfield Dec."). Additionally, Plaintiff testified at deposition that she began receiving psychological treatment because of work-related issues after being diagnosed as "severely depressed" by her physician. Joint Statement, pp. 4-5; Deposition of LaCava, pp. 196-99.

Following Plaintiff's deposition, defense counsel wrote a letter to Plaintiff's counsel, Mr. Betts, asking if Plaintiff would be willing to stipulate to an independent mental examination ("IME"). On March 17, 2011, defense counsel sent follow-up correspondence to Mr. Betts requesting that Plaintiff stipulate to an IME. Exhibits A and B to Greenfield Dec.

MID filed the instant motion to compel an IME on April 7, 2011. On the same date, MID's counsel spoke with Mr. Betts about whether Plaintiff would stipulate to an IME. Mr. Betts advised that he would consider it. Greenfield Dec. ¶ 5.

On April 15, 2011, defense counsel sent another letter to Mr. Betts about the IME. Exhibit C to Greenfield Dec. On April 19, 2011, Mr. Betts responded and indicated that Plaintiff would not agree to the IME.

On April 22, 2011, the parties filed a joint statement of discovery dispute.

DISCUSSION

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 35, MID seeks an independent mental examination of Plaintiff on May 4, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. by Dr. Howard Glidden in Fresno, California. The examination will relate to Plaintiff's ...


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