Submitted: April 21, 2017
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR DECLARATORY
M. SANDLER JUDGE
Petitioner moves this Court to declare that Respondent is not
entitled to an IME in this matter on the grounds that a
medical records review which Respondent obtained constitutes
an "IME" under § 39-71-605, MCA, and that
Respondent has no good cause to obtain a second IME.
Respondent objects to Petitioner's motion, contending
that a records review is not an "IME" under the
statute and arguing that it has good cause for an IME where
there is a dispute as to the work-relatedness of
Petitioner's carpal tunnel syndrome.
Petitioner's motion is denied. This Court has previously
ruled that a medical records review is not an IME, and the
language of § 39-71-605, MCA, clearly contemplates a
physical examination. Where causation is disputed, Respondent
desires the IME for the purpose of obtaining a causation
opinion, and Respondent has not previously obtained an IME,
Respondent has demonstrated good cause.
1 Petitioner Richard Wayne Summers moves this Court for a
ruling declaring that Respondent Liberty Northwest Insurance
Corp. (Liberty) is not entitled to an independent medical
examination (IME) in this matter. Liberty opposes
and Procedural History
2 On August 4, 2016, Summers filed an occupational disease
claim, alleging that he developed bilateral carpal tunnel
syndrome in the course of his employment as a truck driver
for Selway Corporation.
3 On September 12, 2016, Liberty's claims adjuster Sandy
Scholl informed Summers that pursuant to § 39-71-615,
MCA,  Liberty would pay his medical bills
without accepting liability at that time.
4 On September 14, 2016, Timothy Woods, MD, saw Summers for a
"work related claim of bilateral carpal tunnel
5 On September 29, 2016, electrodiagnostic testing confirmed
Dr. Woods' diagnosis of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.
6 On October 4, 2016, Margaret Cook-Shimanek, MD, MPH, issued
a Report of Medical Record and Literature Review pursuant to
Scholl's request. Dr. Cook-Shimanek did not physically
examine Summers. She reviewed Dr. Woods' September 14,
2016, medical record and investigated whether existing
medical literature supported Summers' claim that his
truck-driving job caused his carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr.
Cook-Shimanek found "a paucity of literature
specifically addressing truck driving as a risk factor,
" and further noted that additional information about
Summers' medical history and a description of his
time-of-injury job would be helpful in determining if his
carpal tunnel syndrome was work-related.
7 On October 20, 2016, Scholl wrote to Dr. Woods and posed
questions about whether Summers' carpal tunnel syndrome
was work-related. Among other questions, Scholl asked Dr.
Woods if he could state, with a reasonable degree of medical
probability, that a causal relationship exists between
Summers' employment and his carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr.
Woods responded that he could not so state. Scholl used Dr.
Woods' responses to justify denying liability for
Summers' claim on November 4, 2016.
8 On December 21, 2016, Summers' counsel wrote to Dr.
Woods and asked him to render opinions as to whether
Summers' carpal tunnel syndrome was work-related. After
Dr. Woods responded that it was, Liberty asked Summers to
attend an IME with Emily Heid, MD. Summers refused to attend
on the grounds that Dr. Cook-Shimanek's records review