Neurology Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants after a motor vehicle collision allegedly caused mild traumatic brain injury.  Plaintiff hired a Neurology Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court denied the motion.

Facts:  This case (Barnett, Jr. v. National Continental Insurance Company et al – United States District Court – Middle District of Louisiana – January 8th, 2019) involves a motor vehicle collision between the plaintiff and the defendant.  The plaintiff alleges that he suffered mild traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash.  The plaintiff has hired Neurology Expert Witness Charles Kaufman, M.D. to provide expert testimony on his behalf.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude the testimony of Kaufman.

Discussion:  The defendants argue that Kaufman’s opinion that the plaintiff suffered TBI is not sufficiently supported because it is based on an inaccurate history given by the plaintiff.  The defendants state that Kaufman only relied on the plaintiff’s history that he struck his head during the accident.  The defendants allege that the plaintiff did not strike his head during the accident.

In addition, the defendants state that Kaufman does not have any training in biomechanics, which is fatal to his attempt regarding causation.  Also, the defendant criticizes Kaufman’s testing because the tests can’t date the onset of the brain injury.

The court first opines that the defendants do not challenge Kaufman’s experience as a neurologist.  Second, the court opines that Dr. Kaufman’s opinions to be well supported using the standard methodology of a treating physician and that doctors are permitted to opine about the patient’s injuries that they form during the course of treatment.  The court states that this is what Dr. Kaufman has done in this case, plus more.  Dr. Kaufman utilized the patient’s history and complaints along with examinations, testing, treatment, and referrals to other specialists.  Also, he performed research of medical literature and used his education, training, and experience as a neurologist to reach his conclusions.

The court also opines that there is no requirement that a neurologist also have expertise in bio-mechanical engineering in order to opine on the nature and cause of a patient’s brain injury and the defendants have not pointed to any authority on such a proposition.

The defendants also complain that Dr. Kaufman ruled out events from the plaintiff’s past that could have caused his current symptoms.  The court opines that Dr. Kaufman was made aware of these two events but rejected them when reaching his opinion that the accident caused the TBI.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness opinions of Charles Kaufman, M.D. is denied.