A judge Friday denied a motion by a young woman to have her lawyer present and cameras running when she is interviewed by a psychiatrist picked by lawyers for Rep. Tony Cardenas, who she alleges fondled her when she was 16 years old in 2007.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield said he will leave it up to Dr. Saul Faerstein to take whatever steps necessary to make sure the woman, identified in her lawsuit only as Jane Doe, will be comfortable during the session.
The judge said there was no case law supporting the plaintiff’s request for her attorney to be present.
The court papers submitted on her behalf included a declaration by psychologist Anthony Urquiza, who conducted his own evaluation of the plaintiff earlier this month. Had she not had her lawyer present, it is “highly likely” that she would have suffered severe anxiety, according to Urquiza, who said he is “aware that California Superior Court judges retain the discretion to allow counsel’s presence at (independent medical exams) in exceptional cases.”
Uriquiza said that based on his examination of Doe and his review of her deposition transcript, “this case involves such an exceptional case. Specifically, Ms. Doe suffers from a severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder that leads her to become extremely anxious in a situation where she could be alone with an unfamiliar man.”
Doe is unable to be alone in a taxi or car driven by an Uber or Lyft driver without feeling traumatized, according to Uriquiza, who also says it would be proper to have the examination on video so that her facial expressions and body language can be seen to capture “a fuller clinical picture of her condition.”
Doe’s attorneys consented to Cardenas’ attorneys request that she be examined by Faerstein on April 2, but Cardenas’ lawyers balked at Doe’s conditions for the interview.
“There is no justification whatsoever for counsel to be present or for the videotape,” Klevens told the judge.
Attorney Hussain Turk, who represents Doe, said that her wish is to have another of her lawyers, Lynne Ciani, present during the session with Faerstein. He said that as an alternative to having Ciani there, Doe would be agreeable to having a female medical staff member in the room.
Turk said he is concerned that Doe’s PTSD will worsen when she is alone in a room with an unfamiliar man.
Klevens told the judge that the choice should be left up to Faerstein.
“He will figure out how to do it appropriately,” Klevens said.
The suit was filed in April 2018. Doe’s court papers describe her as a “rising star” in amateur golf at the time and said she was dubbed “the next great Latina golfer” with comparisons to Nancy Lopez and Lorena Ochoa.
Cardenas often drove her to golf outings and at least twice took her to speaking events at Balboa Park and one other Los Angeles venue, the woman’s attorneys state in their court papers, which also allege that Cardenas asked the woman to stay by his side as he spoke with constituents and attendees.
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