Addiction Medicine Expert Witness Allowed in Prescription Conspiracy Litigation

Summary: Addiction Medicine Expert Witness testimony is allowed because the court ruled that the expert’s testimony will not include a legal opinion

Facts:  This case (United States v. Taylor – United States District Court – Eastern District of Kentucky – December 2., 2022) involves a claim by the United States against eleven defendants, which include eight physicians, alleging that they conspired to violate the Controlled Substances Act in that they issued prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose as well as a conspiracy to defraud health care benefit programs.  To assist in their case, the United States hired Addiction Medicine Expert Witness Dr. Mark Jorrisch to provide expert testimony.  The defendants filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion: The United States states that Dr. Jorrisch will provide expert testimony on the legitimate medical purpose for prescribing controlled substances as well as the usual course of the practice of addiction medicine.  In addition, the United States says that Dr. Jorrisch will provide his opinion about whether or not the defendants met these standards.

The court notes that Dr. Jorrisch has been practicing addiction medicine for thirty years and has experience in prescribing buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid use disorder.  The court opines that Dr. Jorrisch has the education, training, and experience to provide expert witness testimony in this case.

The defendants claim that Dr. Jorrisch’s testimony will have a legal conclusion because he will be interpreting Tennessee guidelines about specific parts of addiction treatment.  The court determines that Dr. Jorrisch’s expert testimony does not have a legal conclusion because he makes reference state guidelines, just providing his opinion on on generally accepted guidelines.

In addition, the defendant’s allege that Dr. Jorrisch’s expert witness testimony is not based on enough facts or data.  They claim that Dr. Jorrisch looked at a subset of patient files, which does not represent a statistically significant size.   The court concludes that Dr. Jorrisch reviewed patient files, recordings, and policy manuals, which were used to form his opinion.  Also, the court says that the defendants did not offer any evidence that the United States looked only a subset of targeted files.  The court concludes that the defendants should bring this issue up through cross-examination.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Mark Jorrisch is denied.