WORKERS' COMPENSATION & RULE 35(A) ALA. R. CIV. P. MENTAL EXAMINATION - EX PARTE TIDRA CORP.
Ex parte Tidra Corp., [Ms. 2150940, Oct. 7, 2016] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2016). The Court of Civil Appeals grants a petition for a writ of mandamus and directs the Lee Circuit Court to set aside two orders concerning an employee who claimed workers' compensation benefits.
First, the court holds that the Lee Circuit Court erred in sua sponte ordering the employee to undergo a mental examination pursuant to Rule 35(a), Ala. R. Civ. P. The plain language of Rule 35(a) states that such an order "... may be made only on motion for good cause shown ...." Because neither party moved the circuit court for an order directing such a mental examination, the circuit court erred in sua sponte ordering such an examination. Ms. *5-9.
The court also concludes that the Lee Circuit Court erred in ordering the employer to pay for physical therapy sessions for the employee without first determining compensability of the worker's claims in conformance with Ex parte Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 963 So. 2d 654 (Ala. Civ. App. 2007). Reiterating its holding in Ex parte Publix Supermarkets, the court explains that a trial court may not compel an employer to pay for medical treatment for an employee without first holding an evidentiary hearing on the issue of compensability or utilizing either Rule 12(c), Ala. R. Civ. P. (authorizing a judgment on the pleadings), or Rule 56, Ala. R. Civ. P. (authorizing a summary judgment), to determine the issue of compensability without a trial. Ms. *9-10. Because the evidence of compensability and necessity for such medical treatments was in dispute, such that neither Rule 12(c)'s nor Rule 56's procedures could be invoked, and because there was no evidence the Lee Circuit Court had conducted an evidentiary hearing concerning the issue of compensability, the order directing the employer to provide the medical treatment was due to be vacated.
Related Documents: Ex parte Tidra Corp