The former cocktail waitress who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jim Gibbons must undergo a psychiatric evaluation, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen ruled Tuesday.
Chrissy Mazzeo, who in October 2006 accused Gibbons of assaulting her in a Las Vegas parking garage, must submit to the testing because her attorney, Robert Kossack, told defense attorney Walt Cannon he had a right to compel Mazzeo to take the exam.
"But for the fact you agreed Mr. Cannon's client was entitled to an (independent psychiatric examination)," Leen said, "I would have denied the (defense) motion."
Cannon represents two of Gibbons' co-defendants, the Metropolitan Police Department and former Sheriff Bill Young. Mazzeo accused the former sheriff of conspiring with the governor to ensure no charges were filed.
In 2008, Mazzeo filed a federal civil lawsuit, alleging conspiracy. She accused the parties, including political consultant Sig Rogich, who advised Gibbons during his gubernatorial campaign, of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
It is that specific allegation in Mazzeo's lawsuit that entitles the defense to request the psychological evaluation, especially after Mazzeo in depositions taken in January said she had experienced traumatic events in her life.
According to Cannon and Kossack, Mazzeo said that she had experienced paranoia and insomnia and that she had self-medicated to deal with domestic abuse issues. She also sought counseling to deal with cancer as an adult and with hair loss as a juvenile.
Kossack told Leen that he initially agreed to the testing while he was walking his dog and that he agreed only on the condition the defendants would agree to extend the evidence discovery process.
Leen asked Cannon why it took so long to request the examination and suggested there were "less intrusive" ways for defense attorneys to obtain information.
But Kossack admitted he told Cannon he was entitled to request the exam, which could take up to three hours.
Kossack, alone at the plaintiff's table, said he had a small firm without the budget of the defendants, each of whom has at least one big-firm attorney.
Cannon bristled at the comment, saying Kossack "wasn't too small to stand out in front of the newspapers" when he filed the lawsuit.
May 17 remains the cutoff date to gather evidence. A trial date has not been scheduled.
Contact Doug McMurdo at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.