Correctional Healthcare Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Medical Care Litigation

Summary: Correctional Healthcare Expert Witness testimony allowed in case involving a stroke in a detention center even though the defendants argued that his testimony was irrelevant and prejudicial.

Facts:  This case (Kindoll v. Southern Health Partners, Inc. et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of Kentucky – March 29th, 2019) involves a medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit arising from the defendants’ alleged failure to provide adequate medical care to the plaintiff after she suffered a stroke while incarcerated at a detention center.  The plaintiff has hired Correctional Healthcare Expert Witness Lawrence Mendel, DO to provide testimony.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude the testimony of this expert witness.

Discussion:  The defendants argue that Dr. Mendel should be excluded from testifying regarding 1) defendants’ alleged failure to train and supervise its employees and 2) defendants’ alleged derivations from the standard or care prior to May 18th, 2016.

First, the defendants argue that the plaintiff should be barred from eliciting testimony from Dr. Mendel regarding policies, procedures and training because his opinions are not based on sufficient facts or data.    The court opines that it does not agree with the defendants on this issue as Dr. Mendel’s opinion is tied to the facts in the record.  The court further opines that the defendants’ argument goes to the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility.  The court further notes that Dr. Mendel reviewed all of the witness depositions and the deposition exhibits.  The court further opines that because Dr. Mendel’s opinion is grounded in fact, the court will not exclude his testimony on these grounds and that the defendants are free to cross-examine the witness at trial.

The defendants also argue that Mr. Mendel’s testimony regarding any deviations from the standard of care prior to May 18th, 2016 should be excluded because this testimony is irrelevant and unduly prejudicial.  The court again disagrees and rules that this part of the testimony should not be excluded.  The court opines that the defendants view the scope of admissibility too narrowly in light of Daubert’s liberal relevance standard.  The court also opines that Dr. Mendel’s opinion on this matter will assist the trier of fact in this case and thus, the expert testimony is admissible.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Lawrence Mendel, DO is denied.