Admiralty & Maritime Expert Witness Not Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant related to a slip and fall while the plaintiff was on board a cruise line.  The plaintiff hired an Admiralty & Maritime Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude this testimony, which was granted by the court.

Facts:  This case (Jordan v. Celebrity Cruises Inc – United States District Court – Southern District of Florida – July 25th, 2018) involves a slip and fall.  The plaintiff alleges that, while she was a passenger on the cruise ship Celebrity Summit, she was seriously injured when she slipped and fell in the the bathroom in her cabin room.  The plaintiff states that she has suffered physical pain (a fractured coccyx) as well as emotional and mental distress.  In addition, she alleges that she has accrued medical expenses as well as a permanent physical handicap.  The plaintiff hired Admiralty & Maritime Expert Witness Randall Jaques to provide testimony on her behalf.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude Mr. Jaques’ expert witness testimony.

Discussion:  The plaintiff hired Mr. Jaques as an expert to ascertain 1) the cause of the fall; 2) whether the bath mat was folded in compliance with the policies of Celebtrity, and 3) whether the towel was a hazard for passengers.  The defendant argues that Mr. Jaques has no bachelor or advanced degrees in any field and that his work experience is in law enforcement and security.  In addition, the defendant alleges that Mr. Jaques conducted an unscientific and unreliable test of the slippery nature of the bath mat on the floor by pushing a towel around with his hand.  Also, the defendant states that Mr. Jaques’ expert testimony has been excluded by other courts because of his lack of qualifications, unreliable methodologies, and unhelpful conclusions.

Regarding qualifications, the defendant argues that Mr. Jaques does not have a degree and that his personal background in law enforcement does not have any bearing on the facts of this case.  Also, the defendant claims that Mr. Jaques is not qualified because he doesn’t have any experience on slip resistance testing, shipboard housekeeping policies, or the supervision of housekeeping employees.  Last, the defendant argues that Mr. Jaques does not have any experience in biomechanics, human factors, or ergonomics.  The court agreed and granted the defendant’s motion to exclude.

The defendants also allege that Mr. Jaques methodology is not reliable because his expert report simply lists a number of conclusory statements that do not have any foundation.  In addition, he does not indicate whether his opinions were subject to any verification or peer review.  Also, his report does not reference a single study, article, or other authority to support his opinions.  Last his opinions do not have any corresponding supporting material or sources.  The court again agrees with the defendant and opines that Mr. Jaques testimony should be excluded.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Randall Jaques is granted.