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Nathaniel Fick
Nathaniel Fick
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An “Independent Medical Examination” is Not “Independent” (or, The Misadventures of Dr. Rosalind Griffin)


Ahhh, the Streisand Effect. Apparently Dr. Rosalind Griffin has never heard this phenomenon, which is understandable; not everyone has. However, Dr. Griffin is now experiencing it thanks to her attempts to silence attorney Steven Gursten.

Steve wrote a blog post back in 2014 and asked his readers to decide for themselves whether Dr. Griffin used “hatchet job tactics” when hired by defense attorneys to perform an Independent Medical Examination of his client who was injured in a trucking accident. She was also asked to write a report and testify on her findings.


Dr. Rosalind Griffin

Understandably, Dr. Griffin was not happy with Gursten’s post, particularly when it started showing up on the first page of Google in searches for her name. Did she file a defamation claim within the one-year statute of limitations? No. Did she file a grievance with the Michigan Bar? Yes. Is it a coincidence she filed her grievance a mere six days after the statute of limitations expired? Your guess is as good as mine.

Unfortunately for Dr. Griffin, Gursten isn’t one to back down when he thinks he’s right (a trait good trial attorneys tend to have). This week, he published a new post about the grievance that dives deeper into Dr. Griffin’s examination of and testimony about his injured client. And now other legal bloggers are posting about the story, likely giving Dr. Griffin more attention than she anticipated or wanted.

While having knowledge about the Streisand Effect is certainly useful, the most important lesson to be learned from these proceedings is the fact that “Independent Medical Exams” are rarely, if ever, independent. There are doctors who are paid handsomely to perform these Defense Medical Exams, and as Gursten noted in his original post about Dr. Griffin:

…Our civil litigation system today creates incentives for insurance companies and smart defense attorneys to use these IME doctors (the more extreme and notorious the better) as a way to save enormous amounts of money on claims for seriously hurt people who often are completely depending on obtaining No Fault and workers compensation benefits.

These IME doctors do enormous damage to people, and they get away with it time and time again.

Additional reading:

Doctor Tries To Take Down Lawyer’s Blog Post By Filing Grievance – updated
Grieving Dr. Rosalind Griffin
Doctor Files Grievance Against Attorney Over Blog Post
Can a Bar Grievance Provide Relief Against a Law Blogger When Defamation Law Will Not?



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  1. Chris Wright says:
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    Great post Neil. I’m glad to see this spreading all over the place!

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    Thanks for the post Niel. These examinations by doctors hired by the defense firms and their insurance company clients are not “independent” . A closer look at the financial disclosures of many of the “frequent flyer” doctors will reveal that they make a lot of money providing a biased opinion cloaked under the misnomer- “independent”

  3. Evan Kline says:
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    Thanks for calling attention to this, Niel. The story and the links highlight a real problem we face every day.

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    The general public is all to familiar with “frivolous” lawsuits. It’s never too late for the public to understand frivolous defenses, how commonly they occur and how they injure people who are already victims of negligence. It is time to do something about them.

  5. Stacey Wilson pt says:
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    The doctors performing these exams are hired solely to benefit the legality of the case . Prior knowledge and background provided before the IME provide the background which compromises the exam

  6. Bernard Solnik says:
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    Thanks for pointing this out It’ a good thing juries and not doctors appointed by insurance companies have the final say.

  7. Valerie says:
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    RN, bilateral knee derangement at work lifting and moving 250lb patient while working in FL. Left at home unable to walk or take care of self. RN brought to MD by parents. Doctor in MD thought thereby stated that injury not caused by work. Injured RN

  8. John R. Kelly says:
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    These Defense Medical Exam “doctors” are essentially committing fraud. Equally disturbing is that some judges & workers’ comp commissioners either don’t care or ignore it.

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    Niel, great blog. what I would like to see is the “placebo” effect. Send 100 plaintiffs to an IME doctor. In 50, tell the doctor they are plaintiffs. In the other 50, don’t tell them whether they are there for treatment or evaluation. Let’s see those results.

  10. Jeff Liggio says:
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    Unfortunately, I don’t think this situation is unique by any means.

    Years ago, I represented the local justice association, and its officers, when a well known, local IME filed a lawsuit after he felt he was disparaged by seminar materials referring to him so that plaintiffs attorneys could collaborate and cooperate when faced with his testimony regarding their injured clients.

    Great post, Niel!

  11. Andrew Slutkin says:
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    Niel: Great post. So glad you are bringing to light the fallacy of the so-called “independent” medical examiner.