Biomedical Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Ship Negligence Case

Summary –  Biomedical Expert Witness testimony allowed even though the defense argued that the expert was not qualified to provide an opinion on unsafe conditions even though she is not a marine safety expert.

Facts – This case (Tisdale v. Marquette Transportation Company, LLC et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana – May 7th, 2024) involves a personal injury and negligence  claim.  The plaintiff William Tisdale, alleges that he was working on the ship M/V ST JOHN, which wis owned by the defendant.  The plaintiff states that felt a pop in his lower back/hip when he picked up a lock line.  Subsequently, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant with multiple claims including that the vessel was shorthanded and that the work was outside of his job classification.  The plaintiff hired Biomedical Expert Witness Susan M. Bowley to provide expert witness testimony. The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.

Discussion – The defendant stated that Ms. Bowley’s testimony should be excluded because her opinions are not helpful to the jury, she is not qualified to offer the opinion, her opinions are not reliable, and will mislead the jury.

The defendant states that Ms. Bowley’s expert witness testimony about the weight of the lock line is based on “cherry-picked” deposition testimony and a specification sheet she found on the Internet.  Also, the defendant argues that no expertise is required to read a deposition transcript and a specification sheet from the Internet.

In addition, the defendant alleges that Ms. Bowley’s testimony about the unsafe conditions is beyond her expertise as she is biomedical engineer, not a marine safety expert.

The court opines that these issues go to the weight of the testimony not the admissibility.

Conclusion – The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Susan M. Bowley is denied.