Hospital Administration Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Assault and Battery Litigation

Summary: Plaintiff filed suit against defendant related to negligent claims and common law assault and battery.  Plaintiff hired a Hospital Administration Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude, which was denied by the court.

Facts:  This case (Goines v. Lee Memorial Health System et al – United States District Court – Middle District of Florida – February 28th, 2019) involves a civil rights claim.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendant are culpable for common law negligence claims and common law assault and battery.  The plaintiff has hired Dr. Fred Hyde (Hospital Administration Expert Witness) to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  Dr. Hyde opines that the defendant fell below industry standards when it failed to provide s safe environment of patient care, its negligence in hiring and supervising employees, and its inadequate response to allegations of sexual assault.

Dr. Hyde has forty years of experience as a hospital executive, professor of hospital management, and an independent consultant specializing in hospital and health services  The defendant disputes that Dr. Hyde has sufficient experience with DNV standards to render an expert opinion about them.  Dr. Hyde testified that he has not been hired to assist a hospital in becoming accredited by the DNV, and has not had direct experience applying DNV standards to a specific hospital.  However, the court opines that, based on his experience in general, Dr. Hyde may render an opinion on whether the defendant’s actions fell below acceptable institutional standards of care.  Thus, the facts identified by the defendant go to the weight of the testimony, not the admissibility.

Also, the defendant argues that Dr. Hyde’s methodology is unreliable.  The court notes that Dr. Hyde relies on his education, training, and work experience.  The defendant argues that the plaintiff does not identify how Dr. Hyde’s experience as a hospital administrator helped him formulate his opinions as to whether the defendant’s actions were in compliance with the DNV standards.

The court opines that Dr. Hyde’s experience and education have made him familiar with the applicable standards of care for hospitals.  Dr. Hyde relies on DNV standards and/or the defendant’s policies to formulate his conclusion.  The court finds this enough to demonstrate how Dr. Hyde’s experience supports his opinions.

Finally, the defendant argues that Dr. Hyde’s opinions are not helpful to the trier of facts.  The defendant alleges that a jury is capable to deciding whether the defendant responded sufficiently or had appropriate policies in place, thus arguing that Dr. Hyde’s testimony is not necessary.  The court disagrees, finding that Dr. Hyde’s opinions will assist the jury.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Fred Hyde is denied.