Drug Abuse Expert Witness allowed to testify, but only that the plaintiff had a substance abuse disorder during her employment
Facts: This case (Poole-Ward v. Affiliates for Women’s Health, P.A. – United States District Court – Southern District of Texas – December 19th, 2018) involves a claim of employment discrimination. The plaintiff claims that the defendant discriminated against her on the basis of her disability by denying her reasonable requested accommodations for ADHD, PTSD, and migraines during her employment. The plaintiff has hired Dr. Edgar P. Nace (Drug Abuse Expert Witness) to provide expert witness testimony. The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.
Discussion: Dr. Nace has opined that the plaintiff did not have a substance abuse disorder before, during, or after her employment with the defendant. The defendant argues that his opinion is irrelevant and unreliable, that he offers legal conclusions, and that he improperly characterizes witness testimony and opines on witness credibility. The plaintiff states that Dr. Nace’s testimony is relevant, contains no legal conclusions, does not characterize witness testimony and does not assess witness credibility.
The court opines that Dr. Nace’s testimony is a tricky fit with the issues before the jury. Dr, Nace seeks to testify that the plaintiff did not have a clinical substance abuse disorder during her employment with the defendant. The court states that Dr. Nace’s is relevant if it mentions the good-faith basis of the defendant’s belief that the plaintiff was impaired by combined factors that included prescription medication or other drugs. The court opines that Dr. Nace’s testimony does not bear on the defendant’s good-faith basis that the plaintiff was impaired on a certain day in May. The court opines that Dr. Nace’s opinion that the plaintiff did not have a substance-abuse disorder before or after her employment with the defendant is not relevant, because it would not help the jury to determine any of the material disputed facts.
The court also opines that Dr. Nace based his testimony on his personal observations, document review, professional experience, education, and training. The court continues by stating that he also failed to speak with important witnesses. The court concludes that Dr. Nace’s testimony is admissible, but shaky.
The court finds that Dr. Nace may only testify as to whether the plaintiff had an substance-abuse disorder during her employment with the defendant and as to the plaintiff’s emotional harm from her termination. She may not testify on other matters in this case.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Edgar P. Nace is granted in part and denied in part.