Plaintiff filed a civil rights and wrongful death action against the defendants. Plaintiff hired an Emergency Medicine Expert Witness to provide testimony, which was challenged by the defendant. The court denied the motion to exclude.
Facts: This case (Waldron v. Gainey et al – United States District Court – Middle District of Florida – October 5th, 2018) involves a civil rights and wrongful death case. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants should be held liable for the death of her fourteen-year-old son, Anthony Ybarra, Jr. Ybarra hung himself and neighbors and family cut him down and started to administer CPR under the defendant arrived and told them to stop. The plaintiff has hired Dr. Mazyar Rouhani (Emergency Medicine Expert Witness) to provide testimony on her behalf. The defendants have filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.
Discussion: The defendants seek to exclude the expert witness testimony of Rouhani because his opinions are unreliable and will not assist the trier of fact. Rouhani’s primary opinion is that Ybarra would have survived the hanging and may have been neurologically intact if he would have continued to receive CPR. The defendants argue that this opinion has not been tested, was not subjected to peer review and is not supported by the evidence. The defendants also state that Rouhani’s experience regarding hanging victims is absent.
The defendants allege that Rouhani did not make an assumption about how long the victim was hanging, but that this information is critical to determine whether Anthony would have survived. Rouhani stated that he did not need to make an assumption because his opinions are based on Anthony’s condition as relayed by the people at the scene. Rouhani believes that, based on his experience, he opines that Anthony would have survived regardless of the amount of time he was hanging. The defendants also contend that Rouhani’s opinions are speculative and flawed, but the court rules that Rouhani has good grounds for his opinion.
The defendants also allege that Rouhani’s opinions are unreliable because they have not been tested and were not the subject of peer review. The court opines that testing or peer review of a scientific opinion is not required under Daubert. The court continues by stating that Rouhani relied on eight studies and his professional experience to reach his opinions.
Last, the defendants argue that Rouhani’s opinions should be excluded because they are founded on unreliable methodology. They contend that Rouhani’s limited experience with hanging victims is not sufficient to form the basis of his opinion and that his opinion cannot establish causation only because the command from the defendant was given in close temporal proximity to the victim’s death. The court, however, rules that Rouhani’s opinions are reliable.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Mazyar Rouhani is denied.