Allergies & Immunology Expert Witness Testimony Not Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant pharmacy related to a personal injury after ingesting medication.  Plaintiff hired an Allergies & Immunology Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court granted the motion.

Facts:  This case (Carrozza v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc – United States District Court – District of Massachusetts – July 8th, 2019)  involves a lawsuit against a pharmacy, which comes out of injuries allegedly sustained after ingesting an antibiotic.  The plaintiff claims that he had an allergic reaction to the drug Levaquin and it caused him to suffer swollen and disfigured skin and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS).  The plaintiff hired Allergies & Immunology Expert Witness Dr. Kenneth Backman to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The court opines that Dr. Backman is not qualified to offer an expert opinion on the standard of care for a pharmacist or whether the plaintiff’s consumption of Levaquin caused his injuries, particularly his alleged SJS.  Dr, Backman testified that he could not speak as to whether the pharmacist at the defendant complied with the appropriate standard of care in this case.

Dr. Backman’s knowledge of SJS is minimal and the sole basis for his belief that the defendant suffered from SJS was another doctor’s report.  In addition, Dr. Backman indicated that he was not aware of how the plaintiff’s injuries came about and whether he had any symptoms of SJS.

The court notes that the plaintiff raises two arguments, but neither of them are persuasive.  The plaintiff cites to a Massachusetts Supreme Court opinion which held that a plaintiff injured by an allergic reaction to medication did not need to provide expert testimony in a duty to warn case.  The present court notes that the core issue in that case was the adequacy of the warning, not the technical performance of the pharmacist.  also, the court opines that there is no claim in the complaint for breach of duty to warn.

In addition, the defendant argues that the fact that the court has precluded admission of another doctor’s affidavit does not bar Dr. Backman from relying on it in formulating his own opinion.  The court opines that a witness who has no relevant experience with a subject matter may not simply parrot the conclusions of an expert who does.

The court sums up by stating that Dr. Backman is not qualified to render an opinion in this case and that his opinions are not based on adequate data.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Kenneth Backman is granted.