Is An Individual's I.Q. a Private and Extremely Personal Matter ?
In Andon v. 302-304 Mott St. Assocs., 257 AD2d 37 [1st Dept 1999], the First Department addressed the issue of whether I.Q. testing of a mother is appropriate where a claim is made that her child suffers from certain mental deficiencies caused by lead paint exposure.
In rejecting such intrusive disclosure, the Andon Court determined that there were no specific provisions of the CPLR that provided authority for the relief requested where there was no showing that the mother, even though she was a party, had placed her own mental or physical condition at issue.
Armed with an expert's affidavit, the defendants contended that there is a correlation between a mother's I.Q. and a child's intelligence and that the mother's I.Q. is probative on the issue of whether the infant plaintiff's deficits are due entirely to exposure to lead paint or whether they are genetic in origin.
In response, the Court stated that: "In our view, however, since so many variables are involved, the test result will raise more questions than it will answer and hardly aid in the resolution of the question of causality. Even if maternal IQ may be a factor in determining a child's intelligence, extending the inquiry into this area would 'dramatically broaden the scope of litigation' ... turning the fact-finding process into a series of mini-trials regarding, at a minimum, the factors contributing to the mother's IQ and, possibly, that of other family members.
'There is no logical end to the litigation inquiry once individual boundaries are crossed.'(Andon v. 302-304 Mott St. Assocs., supra, at 40-41.)
The First Department reversed the trial court's grant of the motion to compel the I.Q. examination.
In closing, the Court noted that the I.Q. examination is intrusive and although the answers to such a test may not be confidential, "it is undeniable that the information obtained--an individual's IQ--is a private and highly personal matter." (Andon v. 302-304 Mott St. Assocs., supra, at 41.)