Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness Testimony Not Decided

Summary: Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness testimony not decided as the court opined that there were compelling arguments on both sides.

Facts:  This case (Bailon v. Landstar Ranger Inc – United States District Court – Northern District of Texas – September 27th, 2019) involves a car accident.  The plaintiff alleges that the driver other the other car, acting in within the court and scope of the defendant, his employer, collided with her vehicle.  The plaintiff alleges that she suffered severe injuries, and seeks compensation for those injuries.  The defendant intends to call Officer Christopher Cortemelia as an Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness.  The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The court opines that it does not have a sufficient legal basis to grant the plaintiff’s motion to exclude.

The plaintiff argues that Officer Cortemelia is not an expert in accident reconstruction and thus hones in on his lack of qualifications.  The court opines that this focus is misdirected and that the focus should be on whether or not Officer Cortemelia is qualified as an expert with respect to the investigation of a motor vehicle accident and, thus, whether he can render opinions as to causation.

The court opines that the ultimate issue is whether the officer has the experience to provide an opinion on the cause of the accident at issue in this case.  The opines that it is not aware of any authority that requires a certificate or license in every area or field before expert witness testimony can be admitted.

The court opines that Officer Cortemelia relied on his experience in coming to his conclusions.  The court opines that many of the questions in the deposition were asked in a general, non-specific manner, and the answers were given in a likewise manner.  The court opines that both parties would understand the importance of the questions and the answers.

The court opines that the plaintiff has not convinced the court that Officer Cortemelia’s opinions should be excluded and the defendant has not convinced the court that his opinions should be allowed.  The court further opines that there is a lot of discussion on Officer Cortemelia’s qualifications, but the arguments about them by both parties are not developed fully.

The court also opines that it has an issue with Officer Cortemelia’s testimony because he is unable to state the source of some of the evidence on which he relies and that he cannpt recall whether or not he talked to any witnesses about the accident.  The court notes that Officer Cortemelia talked about “the physics” of the accident, but he does not talk about the importance of physics and how he knows that physics would dictate that the accident occurred in the manner in which it did.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Officer Christopher Cortemelia is denied.