DISCOVERY ISSUES FOR OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS
While it may not be common, often times a Plaintiff in a No Fault first or third party case may live outside of Michigan. This may be the case in situations where an out of state resident was involved in a motor vehicle accident inside the State of Michigan, or when a former Michigan resident moves states following commencement of his or her lawsuit. Often times, a Plaintiff living outside of the state can pose problems during discovery. This blog will discuss tactics for working around these challenges.
The Michigan Court Rules allow for a Defendant to conduct the deposition of a Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. Furthermore, the No Fault Statute (both old and new), and Michigan Case Law allow for an insurance company or third party Defendant to requests a medical examination of the Plaintiff with a doctor of their choosing.
Typically, insurance companies and defendants will try and inconvenience a Plaintiff, especially when they know they live outside of Michigan, where the lawsuit was filed. This is a litigation strategy that attempts to intimidate the Plaintiff into dismissal or a lower settlement.
There are several ways to combat an insurance company’s attempt to intimidate the Plaintiff by forcing them to travel back to Michigan. First, when it comes to Defense Medical Examinations, you may request that the examination take place in the area where the Plaintiff currently lives. The law does not require that such an examination be conducted in Michigan. In fact, you should remember this even in situations where the Plaintiff lives in Michigan. The Defense Medical Examination should be in an area local to the Plaintiff. The defense does not have a right to inconvenience and harass a Plaintiff by making them travel long distances.
When it comes to depositions for out-of-state Plaintiffs, there may be more complications. Technically, depositions of the parties to a lawsuit (both Plaintiff and Defendant) should be conducted in the region where the lawsuit was filed. However, defendants will often agree to and courts will often order that the deposition be conducted via video deposition. This is the most common, efficient, and convenient way to resolve the issue of depositions for an out-of-state resident.
-Ali A. Ajrouch, Esq.