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Rideau v. Lafayette Health Ventures, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

April 26, 2019

ALECIA M. RIDEAU, M.D.
v.
LAFAYETTE HEALTH VENTURES, INC., ET AL.

          PATRICK J. HANNA MAG. JUDGE.

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending here is Plaintiff Alecia M. Rideau, M.D.'s (“Plaintiff” or “Dr. Rideau”) Motion to Exclude Evidence (Report) and Testimony of Defendants' Expert, Timothy W. Stanley [Doc. No. 64]. Defendants Lafayette Health Ventures, Inc. (“LHVI”); Lafayette General Health System, Inc. (“LGHS”); Lafayette General Medical Center, Inc. (“LGMC”) (collectively the “LGH Defendants”), and Al Patin (“Patin”), have filed an opposition [Doc. No. 73].

         For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Dr. Rideau filed this lawsuit against Defendants under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (“FMLA”), alleging two claims for relief: (1) interference under the FMLA, in that Defendants illegally denied her FMLA leave; and (2) retaliation under the FMLA, in that Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff for exercising her FMLA rights, culminating in her termination from employment. [Doc. No. 1].

         Dr. Rideau is a radiologist whose specialty is interpreting breast imaging. [Id. at ¶ 12]. From December 1, 2014, to September 1, 2016, Plaintiff worked at the Breast Center at LGMC. [Id. at ¶ 13]. Dr. Rideau alleges that, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, took FMLA leave to have a double mastectomy, complained about retaliation associated with exercising FMLA rights, and requested a second FMLA leave for breast reconstructive surgery, Defendants terminated her employment. [Id. at ¶¶ 14, 22, 34 and 35].

         One of the affirmative defenses which Defendants intend to assert at trial is that Dr. Rideau did not mitigate her damages. Toward that end, they have retained Timothy J. Stanley (“Stanley”) as an expert in the field of “physician job placement.” Defendants intend to have Stanley give opinion evidence as to whether substantially equivalent work is available to Dr. Rideau and as to whether Dr. Rideau has failed to use reasonable diligence to obtain it. Stanley is additionally expected to testify as to market physician salary medians.

         Here, Dr. Rideau seeks an order prohibiting Defendants, their counsel, or any witness from attempting to introduce either the testimony of Stanley or his January 21, 2019 report (“the Report”). Dr. Rideau contends that Stanley's opinions are inadmissible because he fails to meet the standards for expert testimony under FED. R. EVID. 702 and 704, in that he is not qualified to render his opinion in this case and his opinions are based upon insufficient facts with no analytical methods related to the facts of this case.

         Dr. Rideau further contends that, to the extent any of Stanley's testimony or the Report is deemed admissible, the limited probative value of such testimony is substantially outweighed by the dangers of unfair prejudice and waste of time, and should, therefore, be excluded pursuant to FED. R. EVID. 403.

         Defendants respond that Stanley's skill, knowledge, and experience spanning twenty-five years establish that he is qualified to testify as an expert in the field of physician job placement. Defendants further contend that, under post-Daubert standards, Stanley need not meet the same standards as scientific experts; instead, he need only demonstrate that his experience qualifies him, and that his methodology was reliable and will assist the trier of fact.

         Defendants additionally assert that Stanley's opinions as to prominent physician job boards and market physician salary medians are reliable under FED. R. EVID. 702 and 704. Finally, Defendants argue that Stanley's experience and expertise would assist the trier of fact without any prejudice or waste of time.

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         Fed R. Evid. 702 establishes the standards for admissibility of expert testimony to assist a trier of fact in understanding evidence or determining a fact in issue. In determining whether expert testimony is reliable and relevant, the district court's role in applying Rule 702 is that of a gatekeeper. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597-598, 113 S.Ct. 2786');">113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993). However, as gatekeeper, the district court is not intended to replace the adversary system: “Vigorous cross-examination, presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on the burden of proof are the traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but admissible evidence.” United States v. 14.38 Acres of Land, More or Less Situated in Lefore County, Miss., 1074');">80 F.3d 1074, 1078 (5th Cir. 1996) (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596.

         In determining whether to allow expert opinion testimony, the court must first decide whether the witness is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. See Moore v. Ashland Chemical, Inc.,126 F.3d 679, 684 (5th Cir. 1997). 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 ...


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