The Third Department, overruling its own precedent, determined plaintiff, in this Labor Law 200, 240(1) and 241(6) action, could properly be compelled to submit to an examination by defendant's vocational rehabilitation expert:
CPLR 3101 “broadly mandates full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution and defense of an action” … . “The words 'material and necessary' as used in [CPLR] 3101 must 'be interpreted liberally to require disclosure, upon request, of any facts bearing on the controversy which will assist preparation for trial by sharpening the issues and reducing delay and prolixity'” … . To properly exercise such discretion, a trial court must balance the need for discovery “against any special burden to be borne by the opposing party” … . If the trial court has engaged in such balancing, its determination will not be disturbed in the absence of an abuse of discretion … .
… While we previously held that there is “no statutory authority to compel the examination of an adverse party by a nonphysician vocational rehabilitation specialist” … , the Court of Appeals has since confirmed that the mandate for broad disclosure is not necessarily limited by the more specific provision of the CPLR that allows a defendant to demand that a plaintiff submit to a physical or mental examination “by a designated physician” (CPLR 3121 [a]) where his or her medical condition is at issue … . Accordingly, the circumstances of a case may allow such a demand even in the absence of express statutory authority … . We agree with the conclusion reached by the other Departments that such circumstances are not limited to those cases where a plaintiff has retained a vocational rehabilitation expert to establish damages, although, generally, such testing “might well be unduly burdensome”… .
… [Plaintiff] placed his ability to work in controversy by claiming that, as a result of his injuries, he suffered loss of future wages and reduced earning capacity and by testifying at his examination before trial that his future career opportunities were limited … . Hayes v Bette & Cring, LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op 00090, 3rd Dept 1-7-16
LABOR LAW (PLAINTIFF COMPELLED TO SUBMIT TO EXAMINATION BY DEFENSE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION EXPERT)/NEGLIGENCE (PLAINTIFF COMPELLED TO SUBMIT TO EXAMINATION BY DEFENSE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION EXPDERT)/CIVIL PROCEDURE (PLAINTIFF COMPELLED TO SUBMIT TO EXAMINATION BY DEFENSE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION EXPERT)/VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION EXPERT (LABOR LAW, PLAINTIFF COMPELLED TO SUBMIT TO EXAMINATION BY DEFENSE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION EXPERT)/DISCLOSURE (LABOR LAW, PLAINTIFF COMPELLED TO SUBMIT TO EXAMINATION BY DEFENSE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION EXPERT)