Cardiology Expert Witness not allowed to testify because he did not review the plaintiff’s medical file.
Facts: This case (Noon v. CARNIVAL CORPORATION – United States District Court – Southern District of Florida – November 6th, 2019) involves a wrongful death action action against a cruise line. The plaintiff, Randall Noon, alleges that the defendant’s medical and non-medical personnel was negligent when they helped his wife, Karen Noon, after she was having difficulty breathing. The defendant claims that the defendant did not allow Mrs. Noon to keep the oxygen tank after they disembarked the cruise ship. Mrs. Noon died after disembarking from the ship. The plaintiff has hired Dr. Robert Myerburg (Cardiology Expert Witness) to provide an opinion as to the life expectancy of Mrs. Noon. The defendant has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Myerburg.
Discussion: The defendant alleges that Dr. Myerburg’s expert witness testimony should be excluded because it is unreliable and unhelpful. The defendant argues that Dr. Myerburg’s opinions should be excluded because he did not review any of Mrs. Noon’s medical records or her medical history.
The defendant claims that Dr. Myerburg did not know that Mrs. Noon suffered from hyperlipidemia, Type 2 diabetes, migraines, COPD, asthma, and tobacco use. In addition, the defendant states that Dr. Myerburg did not account for Mrs. Noon’s 20 years of tobacco use and that he failed to conduct any studies, publish any articles, or perform any other research to determine the life expectancy of Mrs. Noon. The defendant claims that Dr. Myerburg relied on only on life expectancy tables that does not have any foundation to form a reliable opinion that Mrs. Noon could be expected to live another 25 years.
The plaintiff argues that Dr. Myerburg is a board-certified cardiologist and that he relied on Mrs. Noon’s medical records to conclude that her medical conditions were stable. The plaintiff states that, even though there may be weaknesses in Dr. Myerburg’s opinion, the best method to argue against his testimony is during cross-examination. Thus, the plaintiff concludes that Dr. Myerburg’s opinion is reliable and that the defendant’s motion should be denied.
The court opines that the Plaintiff claims that Dr. Myerburg also relied on Mrs. Noon’s medical records when Dr. Myerburg specifically testified that he did not review any part of Mrs. Noon’s medical file. The court states that Dr. Myerburg thus only relied on life expectancy tables, depositions, and a vague set of records that reference Ms. Noon’s medical status.
The court also opines that the use of life expectancy charts does not enable an individual to render an expert opinion as a layperson could download a chart and reach a conclusion as to how many years an individual is expected to live. In addition, the use of life expectancy charts alone does not assist the trier of fact.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Robert Myerburg is granted.