Jails & Prisons Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Negligence Litigation

Summary: Jails & Prisons Expert Witness testimony allowed as the plaintiff did not cite to caselaw regarding his argument that the expert works for the defendant and his opinion should be excluded.

Facts:  This case (Romero v. CORE CIVIC, INC – United States District Court – District of New Mexico – September 28, 2023) involves a breach of duty and constitutional rights against a prisoner in a private detention center.  The plaintiff, Ruben Romero, claims that the defendants placed him a unit with violent men, who beat him and left him unconscious.  The plaintiff also alleges that nobody came to his aid for half an hour. The defendant hired Jails & Prisons Expert Witness Charles Keeton to provide expert witness testimony.  The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude Mr. Keeton’s testimony.

Discussion:  The plaintiff first alleges that Mr. Keeton’s expert witness testimony is not reliable because his opinions were “fed to him” by the defendant’s attorney.  The court disagreed, stating that Mr. Keeton’s disclosures was filed by his attorney and not an expert report written by Mr. Keeton.  In addition, the plaintiff argues that since Mr. Keeton is an employee of the defendant, his opinions are not reliable.  While the court tended to agree, the plaintiff did not cite to any caselaw for this argument.  The court opined that the plaintiff can bring up the issue on cross-examination.

In addition, the plaintiff argued that Mr. Keeton’s expert witness opinion is confusion and not helpful because he misstates the ACA standards.  While the court does agree that expert opinions that conflict with ACA standards is likely inadmissible, he will not make that determination at this time.  Also, the plaintiff can bring up this issue during cross examination.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Charles Keeton is denied.