Life Care Planning Expert Witness Testimony Excluded in Motor Vehicle Accident Case

Summary: Life Care Planning Expert Witness testimony not allowed because the expert did not have a medical endorsement from a qualified medical expert.

Facts:  This case (Norman v. Leonard’s Express, Inc. – United States District Court – Western District of Virginia – April 21, 2023) involves a motor vehicle accident between Yvette Norman (the plaintiff) and Julian J. Kaczor, the operator of a semitruck owned by Leonard’s Express, Inc (the defendant).  The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Life Care Planning Expert Witness Shelby Dubato.

Discussion:  The plaintiff alleges that Dubato is not a medical doctor and is not qualified to profer an expert opinion about the future need of medical and surgical treatment and prescription medication.  In addition, Norman argues that Dubato’s expert witness report was conditioned on an endorsement by a qualified medical expert, which was never obtained.  Thus, Dubato’s report must be excluded.

The court first states that a physician endorsement is not necessarily needed for the admission of a life care plan.  That said, the court does note that medical treatments and therapies put forth in a life care plan has to be predicated on a medical expert opinion.

The court notes that Dubato’s expert witness opinions go beyond the scope of her expertise and that she provided medical opinions without enough medical experience or support from a medical expert.

That said, the court notes that some of Duabto’s expert witness opinions are supported by referring to a proper medical opinion.  But, the court states, after taking out those opinions that have medical support, Dubato’s expert witness report will be incomplete.  Thus, her entire expert witness report will be excluded.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Shelby Dubato is granted.