Family Practice/Family Medicine Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff sued defendant after being struck in the face with a metal lock.  Defendant hired a Family Practice/Family Medicine Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this testimony.  The court denied the motion.

Facts:  This case (Severance v. Chastain, et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of Missouri – November 15th, 2018) involves a claim of violation of the Eighth Amendment.  The plaintiff claims that he was struck in the face with a metal lock by a fellow inmate.  The plaintiff suffered a fractured jaw and required oral surgery to implant titanium plates.  the plaintiff claims that the defendants did not provide him with proper medical care because his jaw is still fractured today and requires future treatment.  The defendant has hired Dr. Kennon Tubbs (Family Practice/Family Medicine Expert Witness) to provide testimony.  The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Tubbs.

Discussion:  The plaintiff argues that Dr Tubbs does not does have the qualifications to opine about oral or maxillofacial surgery to render the opinion in his report.  In addition, the plaintiff alleges that Dr. Tubbs did not include any reasoning or explanation for his opinions.

The court opines that Dr. Tubbs has been a board certified physician in family medicine since July 1999 and has practiced at the Utah State Prison as a primary care provider from 1999 to 2015.  He has overseen the health care of over 1,500 incarcerated individuals.  Dr. Tubbs has testified that he supervises Physician Assistants who provide the majority of patient care in the detention centers he oversees.

The court opines that it does not accept the plaintiff’s argument that Dr. Tubbs is not qualified to provide an opinion on the appropriate standard of care for a jaw injury within a detention center.  The court also opines that the fact that Dr. Tubbs is not a maxilloficial surgeon does not mean that he doesn’t qualify as an expert.  In addition, that he has worked in multiple detention centers provides enough basis for him to provide an expert opinion in this case.

In addition, the plaintiff argues that Dr. Tubbs testimony should be excluded because he has not used reliable principles and methods to support his opinions, such as the “differential diagnosis method.”  The court opines that the fact that Dr. Tubbs did not include a differential diagnosis does not mean that his opinion is unreliable under Daubert.  The court continues by opining that Dr. Tubbs report does not focus on causation, but on his opinion on the general standard of care which is an area that is within Dr. Tubb’s expertise as a physician in a detention center.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Kennon Tubbs is denied.