Nursing Expert Witness Allowed in Part

Plaintiff sued defendant related to an employment claim.  Defendant hired a Nursing Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this testimony, which was granted in part and denied in part by the court.

Facts:  This case (EDMOND v. PLAINFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION – United States District Court – District of New Jersey – September 13th, 2018) involves the employment of the plaintiff who works for the defendant as a social worker.  Four claims remain in this case: retaliation, invasion of privacy, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendant hired Nursing Expert Witness Udoke Ejiofor to provide expert witness testimony and the plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Ejiofor.

Discussion:  Ejiofor is a licensed psychiatric mental health nurse who performed a psychiatric evaluation of the plaintiff and concluded that she suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (“NPD”)

The court opines that Ejiofor is qualified to provide expert witness testimony in this case as he is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and performs psychiatric evaluations and treats psychiatric patients and has been doing so since May 2012.  The plaintiff argues that Ejiofor is does not have a medical degree and is not a psychiatrist or a psychologist.   The court disagrees and opines that Ejiofor is qualified to render an opinion as to the plaintiff’s psychiatric state based on his experience and education.

The plaintiff also argues that Ejiofor did not review the records of Dr. Taylor, her treating psychologist.  Thus, she argues, Ejiofor’s opinions are “mere possibilities” as opposed to probabilities.   The court opines that Ejiofor conducted a psychiatric evaluation on the plaintiff and that this evaluation was enough to permit him to render a diagnosis.  In addition, he testified that he observed the symptoms of PTSD and NSD during the evaluation.  The court ruled that Ejiofor’s testimony should not be excluded simply because his opinion would change if he had reviewed Dr. Taylor’s records and that Ejiofor’s failure to review these records are best discussed during cross examination.

The court also opines that the causation component of Ejiofor’s testimony should be excluded.  Ejiofor concluded that the plaintiff’s PTSD was not caused by conditions related to the workplace, but by an unverbalized childhood experience.  To be sure, Ejiofor admits that the plaintiff made no reference to a childhood trauma during the evaluation and that he had no information about the plaintiff’s life before 2008.  Thus, Ejiofor will not be allowed to opine that the plaintiff’s PTSD was caused by an “unverbalized childhood experience”

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Udoke Ejiofor is granted in part and denied in part