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Would-Be Ind. Lawyers Who Sued over Mental Health Questions Protected in Discovery

Posted Jan 5, 2011 12:40 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A judge has prohibited Indiana bar examiners from conducting further discovery about the mental health of would-be lawyers who filed a class-action suit over treatment questions in applications for a law license.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Pratt upheld a magistrate’s order barring the line of discovery, the National Law Journal reports. Five anonymous plaintiffs submitted affidavits saying they planned to apply for bar admission and answer yes to a question that asked whether they had sought treatment for mental or emotional problems. Their suit contends the questions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Kenneth Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, who represents the plaintiffs, says Indiana's questions about mental health are the broadest in the country. "These questions ask whether someone has seen a mental health counselor [at any time] since the age of 16,” he told the NLJ. “That's too broad an inquiry."

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