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Alice in Discovery Land

I had the opportunity last night to read an article written by Maryland Circuit Court Judge Thomas P. Smith entitled “Alice in Discovery Land (A Practical Guide to Recurrent Discovery Problems)” that appeared years ago in Maryland Litigator, a periodical which I believe no longer exists.

Reading his article reminds me that an article like this allows a lawyer to be included in the thoughts of a judge in the same way a focus group provides a lens for a personal injury lawyer to a potential jury. Both are engaged in thought processes that a lawyer thinks he or she can decipher, but it is often more difficult than they realize. Because we cannot hire a focus group of judges each time you file an important motion, the next best thing an attorney can do is read whatever you can find by practicing judges on discovery issues to get a better insight into their thinking.

What I found of particular interest is Judge Smith’s thoughts on Independent Medical Exams, “Of all the oxymorons in the world, an Independent Medical Examination occupies first place by thousands of leagues. There is nothing independent about the process; it is hardly undertaken for any medical purpose and all too often resembles an inquisition rather than an examination.”

An obvious point, which is why I have never understood why defendants keep insisting on calling them IMEs and we keep letting them.

Then again, it probably means nothing in the enormous picture of things. I do not understand why I dwell on this.

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