Ergonomics Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants related to a personal injury claim. Plaintiff hired an  Ergonomics Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendants filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court denied the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (Patenaude v. Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc et al – United States District Court – District of South Carolina – October 18th, 2019) involves a products liability case involved a CORE Bioflex athletic cup, manufactured by the defendant Shock Doctor and sold by the defendant Dick’s Sporting Goods.  The plaintiff alleges that he was wearing the Bioflex cup while playing lacrosse and that he was struck by a lacrosse ball on the bottom left side of the cup.  It was ultimately determined that the plaintiff had a fractured left testicle and it had to be removed.  The plaintiff has hired Ergonomics Expert Witness John Lloyd, Ph.D., CPE to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion this expert from testifying.

Discussion: The defendant does not dispute Dr. Lloyd’s qualifications and the court notes that it is clear that Dr. Lloyd is qualified to provide an opinion on the performance of the Bioflex cup.  The court notes that Dr. Lloyd has a Ph.D in ergonomics and biomechanics and has worked in the field of ergonomics, biomechanics, human factors analysis and accident reconstruction for over thirty years.

The court notes that Dr. Lloyd studied six different types of athletic cups. The defendant claim that Dr. Lloyd did not include the “quantifiable information” regarding each athletic cup.  The court opines that this piece of information is not necessary as he was studying the performance of the various protective cups upon impact from a 70 mph baseball.

Also, the defendant has complaints with the set-up of the testing.  First, the defendant states that Dr. Lloyd should not have used a baseball, that 70 mph was not a correct speed to use, that the baseballs struck the athletic cups and the center rather than the side, and that the athletic cups were fixed to an elastic bad and not in compression shorts.

The court notes that the defendant does not cite to any caselaw to support his opinion and instead relies on the part of his own expert. The court opines that the disagreements between the two experts should be addressed through cross-examination and testimony. The court opines that each of the parties arguments go to the factual basis of the report and that the factual basis for an expert opinion goes to the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility.

In addition, the defendant argues that Dr. Lloyd did not draw a “casual connection” between the testing and the plaintiff’s injury.  The court opines that defendant does not cite any cases showing that quantification is required in order for a ergonomic expert to provide an opinion on causation.  The court also notes that Dr. Lloyd does opine regarding a casual connection relying on photographs.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of John Lloyd is denied.