Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 215
(March 28, 2011)
Paragraph (d) provides that a trial court may order impartial medical examinations only where the parties have presented conflicting medical testimony, reports or other such documentation which places a party's mental or physical condition "in issue" and, in the court's discretion, it appears that the examination will materially aid in the just determination of the case. Mere allegations are insufficient to place a party's mental or physical condition "in issue."
The impartial medical examiner cannot answer the ultimate legal issues in the case; rather, the examiner can render a medical opinion which can assist in the resolution of those issues.
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(March 28, 2002)
This rule is amended to conform to the changes in terminology made in Supreme Court Rule.
(Revised June 1, 1995)
This rule is derived from former Rules 17-1 and 17-2. The language of Rule 17-1 was not changed except that the time in which the examining physician shall present his findings has been extended to 21 days in paragraph (c) of Rule 215. Under former Rule 17-1(3) that period was 20 days. Paragraph (c) of the new rule also requires that the physician present his report 14 days before trial. Former Rule 17-1(3) required the physician to present his findings not later than 10 days before trial. These changes are consistent with the committee's general policy of establishing time periods in multiples of seven days.
Former Rule 17-2 has been revised as paragraph (d) of the new rule, but the substance is not changed, except that the provision is no longer limited to personal injury cases.
This rule is intended to provide an orderly procedure for the examination of civil litigants whose physical or mental condition is in controversy. Originally, the rule concerned only physicians. The new rule recognizes that a number of professionals in other health-related disciplines are licensed to perform physical and mental examinations and therefore the designation "licensed professional" is substituted for "physician." The new language was adopted to effectuate the objectives of the rule with minimal judicial involvement. The requirement of "good cause" was therefore eliminated as grounds for seeking an examination.
Timing is the critical consideration. Examining professionals under the rule fall within the classification of opinion witnesses under Supreme Court Ruleas opposed to consultants under Supreme Court Rule . Consequently, the rule has been amended to require that the examination be scheduled in order that the report contemplated by subsection (c) is provided in accordance with the deadlines imposed by Supreme Court Rule . In addition, the failure to provide the attorney for the party who was examined with a copy of the examiner's report within the 21-day period specified by paragraph (c) will result in exclusion of the examiner's testimony, opinions, and the results of any tests or X-rays that were performed.
Supreme Court Rule 215 is the compilation of rules previously and independently suggested by the Illinois Judicial Conference Committee on Discovery Procedures and the Supreme Court Rules Committee. The new rule allows for physical and mental examinations of "licensed professionals" and not merely physicians. The contemplated circumstances include sociologists, psychologists or other licensed professionals in juvenile, domestic relations and child custody cases. The Committee feels that this will aid not only in the previously designated cases but in other circumstances where it may become necessary for such a "professional" to be utilized. In particular, smaller counties have had difficulty in finding psychiatrists because of their limited number and lack of availability. This rule should help to alleviate this problem. The requirement of "good cause" for seeking such an examination was eliminated from the rule. In addition, the reference to the Illinois State Medical Society has been stricken, and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts has been substituted in its place.