Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Judge Mariani of Middle District Federal Court Addresses Parameters of Expert Testimony

In his recent Opinion in the case of Owens v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., 2010 W.L. 4867, 3:10-CV-862 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 12, 2012 Mariani, J.), Judge Robert D. Mariani of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania addressed a Plaintiff’s failure to identify any experts during the course of discovery in a federal court slip and fall matter.

The Plaintiff’s attorney indicated that he intended to bring his medical experts to testify live at trial. In Owens, the defense filed a Motion In Limine seeking to preclude the Plaintiff from presenting any medical experts at trial given the Plaintiff’s failure to designate experts or supply any expert reports prior to trial as required by F.R.C.P. 26(a)(2)(B).

The Court ruled that, because the Plaintiff never produced a medical expert report from the treating physician prior to trial, but instead only indicated that the physician would be testifying live at trial, the treating physician’s testimony would be limited to what was contained in the treating physician’s medical records. Accordingly, the Court ruled that the treating physician was not permitted to give testimony on causation except to the extent that it was expressed unambiguously in the treating physician’s records.
In this decision, the Court also precluded the Plaintiff from introducing any lay opinion testimony regarding her medical condition, prognosis, or on the issue of causation.

I send thanks to Attorney Bill Mabius for forwarding this case to my attention.

Anyone desiring a copy of this Opinion may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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