Ex parte Tidra Corporation

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

223 So.3d 931 | Oct. 7, 2016


ORDER COMPELLING DEFENDANT TO PROVIDE MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND FOR PLAINTIFF TO UNDERGO MENTAL EXAMINATION SET ASIDE BY ALABAMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS

Plaintiff, acting pro se, alleged to have suffered a work-related injury, and filed a motion to compel defendant to provide medical treatment pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. The trial court conducted a hearing on plaintiff’s motion, but did not hear oral argument or witness testimony. Plaintiff provided documentary evidence in support of his motion. Defendant provided competing documentary evidence that they were not responsible for the medical treatment requested, as it did not appear to be connected with plaintiff’s alleged work-related injury. Based on the pleadings, and the parties’ motions, there existed a genuine issue of material fact. The trial court set a second hearing for oral argument and testimony at a later date.

Prior to a hearing on the merits of plaintiff’s requested relief, the trial court granted plaintiff’s motion for medical treatment pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. The trial court also ordered plaintiff to undergo a mental examination. Defendant requested appellate review of the trial court’s order with a writ of mandamus.

Rule 35(a) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure provide for a court to order a party to undergo a mental evaluation only upon motion of a party to the action. No such motion was before the court. The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama ruled that a trial court cannot order a mental evaluation in a civil matter on its own initiative. Such is permissible in a criminal matter, but not a civil matter.

Citing Ex Parte Publix Supermarkets, Inc. 963 So.2d 654 (Ala. Civ. App. 2007), the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama found that the trial court had not conducted the prerequisite evidentiary hearing in order to find the defendant responsible for providing medical benefits to the plaintiff under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. The trial court was instructed to set aside its order in its entirety.

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