AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies


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Mental Examinations

     Under California law, a worker's psychiatric injury is not compensable for workers' compensation purposes if it was substantially caused by a personnel action—that is, if 35 to 40 percent of the cause is a personnel action. The plaintiff was a supervising probation officer who was the subject of an internal affairs investigation after another officer filed a complaint with the union accusing him of wrongdoing. A psychiatrist appointed as the medical evaluator of his subsequent psychiatric injury found that it was caused in equal thirds by the coworkers' complaint, which was not a personnel action, by the internal investigation, which was a personnel action, and by the plaintiff's feelings of not being supported by his superiors, which it was disputed as to whether it constituted a personnel action.  The Workers Compensation Appeals Board accepted the psychiatrist's opinion that the third factor was not a personnel action, and therefore awarded benefits. An intermediate California appeals court annulled this determination, finding that the psychiatrist had no authority to decide what was or was not a personnel action, so further proceedings were required. County of Sacramento v. WCAB, #C067739, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 311
  Plaintiff, in a wrongful fatal shooting lawsuit, demanded that a law enforcement officer submit to a mental examination; the federal court agreed to the demand. On review, the 5th Circuit holds that interim discovery orders are not appealable. Goodman v. Harris County, #04-20859, 443 F.3d 464, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 7085 (5th Cir. 2006). [2006 FP Sep]

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