Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Appeals Court sidesteps question of whether PIP carriers can have IME conducted by physical therapist

 Judith Ortiz was injured in an automobile accident. She sought PIP benefits from Commerce. 

Commerce sent Ortiz a notice indicating that she would have an independent medical examination conducted by a physician named Eugene Boeglin.  Ortiz attended the examination.  When Commerce sent her lawyer a copy of the IME report, she learned that Boeglin was not a medical doctor but a "doctor of physical therapy."  (Side note:  I have read hundreds of plaintiffs' physical therapy notes in my career.  Since the notes were all more or less the same I had come to assume that PT was bogus -- until I was referred to PT a few years ago for a pinched nerve.  Those people are miracle workers with knowledge that goes extremely deep.) 

Ortiz sued Mass Medical Services, apparently Boeglin's employer, for violation of the privacy statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 214 s. 1B and of ch. 93A. 

In Ortiz v. Mass Medical Services, Inc., 86 Mass. App. Ct. 1116, 2014 WL 5326511 (unpublished), the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed dismissal of the privacy act claim for failure to comply with the statute of limitations. 

The court dismissed the 93A claim because the allegedly unfair and deceptive act -- the fact that Boeglin was a physical therapist, not a medical doctor -- caused no adverse consequences or loss. 

The court did not address whether Commerce itself was in violation of any statute or acting in bad faith by having the IME conducted by a physical therapist.