United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
DANNY D. RICHARDS, Plaintiff,
RODERICK J. DUGGER and UNITED ROAD SERVICES, INC., Defendants.
L. COLLIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises from a rear-end collision involving
Plaintiff's van and Defendants' tractor-trailer.
Defendants have moved to exclude the testimony of
Plaintiff's treating physician and medical expert, Dr.
Barry Vaughn, pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 702. (Doc.
65.) Defendants contend Dr. Vaughn's testimony should be
excluded because (1) Dr. Vaughn stated he was not serving as
an expert witness in his deposition; (2) Dr. Vaughn did not
examine any relevant documents aside from the medical records
and was not aware of any facts relating to the accident; (3)
Dr. Vaughn's report lacks a method of reasoning for how
he concluded the collision caused Plaintiff's injury; (4)
Dr. Vaughn failed to connect his experience to his
conclusions; and (5) Dr. Vaughn failed to account for other
possible causes of Plaintiff's injuries. (Id.)
As a result, Defendants assert the report does not comply
with Rule 26(a) and should be excluded. (Id.) In
response, Plaintiff asserts Dr. Vaughn is qualified as an
expert under 702 and, while the report could have been more
detailed, it still satisfies the Rule 26 requirements. (Doc.
78.) Plaintiff then contends that even if Dr. Vaughn's
report is technically deficient, exclusion would not be
appropriate because any failure to disclose was harmless and
did not prejudice Defendants. (Id.) Defendants have
replied. (Doc. 83.) The Court finds a hearing on this motion
is unnecessary. For the reasons set out below, the Court will
DENY Defendants' motion.
Federal Rule of Evidence 702, a witness with sufficient
knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may
testify in the form of an opinion if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and
methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the
principles and methods to the facts of the case.
fulfilling its gatekeeping role, a court must first determine
if an expert's testimony is reliable and then determine
if it is relevant. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589 (1993). “[T]he gatekeeping
inquiry must be tied to the facts of a particular case . . .
depending on the nature of the issue, the expert's
particular expertise, and the subject of his
testimony.” Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v.
Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 150 (1999) (internal
quotations omitted). Further, “[i]t is the proponent of
the testimony that must establish its admissibility by a
preponderance of proof.” Nelson v. Tenn. Gas
Pipeline Co., 243 F.3d 244, 251 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592 n.10).
Supreme Court in Daubert set out a flexible,
non-definitive checklist to consult in evaluating
reliability: (1) whether the expert's theory can be
tested; (2) whether the theory has been subject to peer
review and publication; (3) the theory's known error
rate; and (4) whether the theory has been generally accepted.
See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593-94. Courts have also
noted other relevant factors that may arise, including:
whether the opinions were developed solely for purposes of
litigation, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 43
F.3d 1311, 1317 (9th Cir. 1995), whether there is too great
an analytical gap between the data and the expert opinion,
Gen. Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 147 (1997),
and whether the expert has accounted for obvious alternative
explanations, Ambrosini v. Labarraque, 101 F.3d 129,
140 (D.C. Cir. 1996).
addition to determining reliability, a court must ensure the
expert's testimony is relevant. Often referred to as
“fit, ” an expert's testimony is relevant if
the testimony would be helpful to the jury in resolving
disputed issues. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 591.
expert witness was retained or employed to provide expert
testimony in the case or is an employee whose duties
regularly involve providing expert testimony, then the
expert's disclosure must be accompanied by a ...