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District courts enjoy broad discretion in deciding whether to appoint independent experts. Although this power is recognized, the enlistment of court-appointed experts pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 706 is not commonplace. In fact, Rule 706 should be reserved for exceptional cases in which the ordinary adversary process does not suffice.
The instant dispute arose out of slip and fall accident that took place at the corporation's department store, wherein the customer sustained certain injuries. The corporation filed a motion, pursuant to Rule 706 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, seeking a court-appointed physician of its choice to conduct an orthopedic and neurological examination of the customer. The customer opposed the motion. The customer asserted that the motion was premature because there was no dispute at the present time that would warrant a court-appointed physician.
Should the court appoint a physician of the corporation’s choice to conduct an orthopedic and neurological examination of the customer?
On consideration, the court denied the motion. The court held that the corporation had not demonstrated the necessity of appointing an independent physician. The court observed that the corporation had been provided with the medical records of the customer since the filing of the instant motion. Further, the court found that the corporation had filed the motion with the court before even requesting that the customer be examined by a doctor of its choice. The court agreed that the request was premature.