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D. Ariz.: Weighing the Credibility of IME's v. Primary Care Opinions

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  • D. Ariz.: Weighing the Credibility of IME's v. Primary Care Opinions

    In a recent, and fairly standard, case out of Arizona, the court draws a very clear distinction on how they take into account the IMO's of LINA's doctors as compared to the opinions of the Plaintiff's primary care physicians.

    The Plaintiff is an attorney who was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”) (CRPS is also known as and referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – (“RSD”)), Raynaud's Disease, Nutcracker Syndrome, degenerative disc disease, celiac disease, plantar fasciitis, and autoimmune disorders that were characterized as either connective tissue disorder, scleroderma, or lupus.

    These diseases made it virtually impossible for the Plaintiff to carry out the normal, everyday functions that she would need to do as an attorney. The Defendant arranged for a total of five doctors to conduct IME's of the Plaintiff. Of those doctors, two of them met with the Plaintiff on a singular occasion, and the remaining three never met with her at all. This stood in contrast to the Plaintiff's two treating physicians, both of whom had regular contact with the Plaintiff over the past five years. The court found:


    The Court rejects the testimony of Drs. McCrary, Tsanadis, Park, Heydebrand, and Barry, and credits the testimony of Brown’s treating physicians (Dr. Jennifer Suriano, M.D., and Dr. Kenneth B. Gossler, M.D.).10 The Court also credits the testimony of Plaintiff Rebecca Brown, and her mother (Susan Brown), regarding Plaintiff’s pain, level of pain, and frequency of her pain.11 Dr. McCrary, Tsanadis, Park, Heydebrand, and Barry were all compensated by LINA for their opinions. Dr. McCrary
    met with Brown on a single occasion for one hour. Likewise, Dr. Tsanadis only met with Brown on a single occasion. Drs. Park, Heydebrand, and Barry never met Brown, and never had any contact whatsoever with Brown. In stark contrast to Drs. McCrary, Tsanadis, Park, Heydebrand, and Barry (who either met Brown on one occasion or never had any contact with Brown at all), Plaintiff’s treating physicians (Drs. Suriano and Gossler) actually had regular contact with Plaintiff over the course of five years (i.e., prior to the denial of benefits on 5/18/15), diagnosed and treated her numerous health conditions over the course of five years, and had the opportunity to observe and examine Plaintiff over the course of five years to form their opinions.
    The opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files
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