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Sigsby v. Cardinal Logistics Management Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 12, 2019

JEFFREY SIGSBY
v.
CARDINAL LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, ET AL.

         SECTION I

          ORDER & REASONS

          LANCE M. AFRICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is plaintiff Jeffery Sigsby's (“Sigsby”) motion[1] in limine to exclude the testimony of Dr. Andrew G. Todd (“Dr. Todd”) regarding the efficacy of radiofrequency ablation procedures (“RFAs”); how long RFAs are effective; the need for repeat RFAs; how frequently RFAs can be repeated; and how many future RFAs will be medically necessary for Sigsby. Defendants Cardinal Logistics Management Corporation (“Cardinal Logistics”) and ACE American Insurance Company (collectively, the “defendants”) have retained Dr. Todd, who is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a fellowship in scoliosis spinal surgery, as an expert witness. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

         I.

         This case arises out of a motor vehicle accident involving Sigsby and a Cardinal Logistics employee. The parties jointly stipulated to the defendants' liability, and the only remaining issues for trial are the nature, extent, and cause of Sigsby's damages.[2]

         According to Sigsby, his treating physician has recommended that he undergo one RFA to his neck and one to his back every six to twelve months, indefinitely, to treat his symptoms.[3] Sigsby contends that, after performing an independent medical evaluation, Dr. Todd agreed that RFAs should be included in Sigsby's treatment plan.[4]

         During his deposition, Dr. Todd testified that, although RFAs can be repeated successfully, he has only seen patients need three or four repeat RFAs.[5] He also testified that patients typically do not receive more than five to seven treatments.[6]The present motion seeks to exclude Dr. Todd's testimony regarding the efficacy of RFAs and the necessity of their repeated use-testimony that Sigsby characterizes as “arbitrarily limiting [his] future care.”[7]

         II.

         Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governs the admissibility of expert witness testimony. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 588 (1993); United States v. Hitt, 473 F.3d 146, 158 (5th Cir. 2006). Rule 702 provides:

         A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise 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.

         “To qualify as an expert, ‘the witness must have such knowledge or experience in [his] field or calling as to make it appear that his opinion or inference will probably aid the trier in his search for truth.'” United States v. Bourgeois, 950 F.2d 980, 987 (5th Cir. 1992) (quoting United States v. Johnson, 575 F.2d 1347, 1361 (5th Cir. 1978)). Rule 702 also states that an expert may be qualified based on skill, training, or education. Fed.R.Civ.P. 702.

         “A district court should refuse to allow an expert witness to testify if it finds that the witness is not qualified to testify in a particular field or on a given subject.” Huss v. Gayden, 571 F.3d 442, 452 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting Wilson v. Woods, 163 F.3d 935, 937 (5th Cir. 1999)). However, “Rule 702 does not mandate that an expert be highly qualified in order to testify about a given issue.” Id. “Differences in expertise bear chiefly on the weight to be assigned to the testimony by the trier of fact, not its admissibility.” Id.; see also Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596 (‚ÄúVigorous cross-examination, ...


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