DO I NEED A MENTAL EXAM

If you have suffered emotional distress as a result of employment discrimination, this may interest you. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) provides that workers who suffer emotional distress as a result of unlawful discrimination can obtain compensation for that damage.

A recent decision of the Supreme Court in Tarr v. Ciasulli, 181 N.J. 70 (2004) held that emotional stress claims are compensable without corroborative proof, permanency of response or other physical or psychological symptoms which render the emotional distress severe or substantial.

In a pending case, McGhee and Johnson v. Pathmark Stores, Inc., plaintiffs sued for discriminatory conduct in the workplace and claimed emotional distress damages. The defendant asked the court to force the plaintiffs to submit to a psychological examination. The defendant argued that the plaintiffs had criminal backgrounds and one faced domestic abuse charges and two had undergone court-ordered anger management. The defendant asserted that other mental, physical or social factors might have contributed to the alleged distress claimed by plaintiffs.

YOU BE THE JUDGE: Does an LAD plaintiff claiming emotional distress subject himself to the risk that a court may order psychological evaluations? The motion judge denied defendant’s request. The judge noted that the LAD was intended to provide an expansive remedy to plaintiffs and that the Legislature recognized emotional distress is sometimes a factor in assessing damages.

The judge found the plaintiffs’ criminal histories did not give rise to an alternate explanation for the pain and suffering claimed by plaintiffs and evidence of alternative possibilities would likely confuse the jury. The judge also noted there was no New Jersey decision which supported defendant’s request for an examination.

The decision points out that a courtroom can bring justice and may be the only way to protect your rights. Our Firm knows courtrooms; we have harnessed the power of the law in courtrooms to bring justice for our clients for decades in Paterson, Paramus, Passaic, Wayne, Montville, Demarest, Westwood, South Orange, West Orange, Closter, Freehold, West Orange, West New York, Morristown, Pequannock, Butler, Newark and throughout Bergen County, Morris County, Passaic County, Essex County and Hudson County. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you protect your rights in a new lawsuit or provide a Asecond [email protected] about your pending lawsuit. There is no obligation for the initial consultation. Copyright Samuel D. Bornstein, P.A. 2008-2010.

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About The Author:

Author, Samuel D. Bornstein, is associated with the law firm (and has 40 years of experience in representing individuals and a wide variety of businesses from Fortune 100 companies that need specialized assistance to smaller companies that look to the firm as their “in house” lawyer for general day-to-day advice. The firm is experienced with transactional work and litigation, emphasizing corporate and partnership operations, employment.