Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Part in Slip and Fall Case.

6Summary:  Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness testimony is allowed in part, even though the plaintiff argued that the expert was not qualified as he has not done billing in certain practices for over 25 years.

Facts:  This case (Ramos v. The Home Depot Inc – United States District Court  – Northern District of Texas – March 1st, 2022) involves a personal injury claim.  The plaintiff, an employee at The Home Depot, claims that she was injured while she was walking to back of the gardening department.  Ramos states that she slipped on an unidentified substance on the floor and sustained severe injuries to her entire body.  In order to prove their case, The Home Depot has hired Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness Dr. Benzel MacMaster to provide expert testimony.  Ramos has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  Ramos argues that MacMaster’s testimony should be excluded for three reasons:  1) His opinions are not relevant, unreliable, and confusing to the jury; 2) He is not qualified to testify on the necessity of medical bills that are in areas outside of his expertise; 3) His counter-affidavit is conclusory.

First, the court notes that MacMaster is an orthopedic surgeon who has been in practice for over forty years. The court also states that MacMaster claims that he has not billed as to neurology, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, chiropractic medicine, and as a pain specialist ever or not within twenty years.  Home Depot argues that MacMaster should be allowed to testify on these latter matters because he has been involved in coding an billing practices related to the treatment he provides.  In addition, Home Depot points out that MacMaster’s calculations are based on CPT codes, which he interpreted based on his training and experience.  The court opines that it is not clear as to what qualifies MacMaster to opine on the reasonableness of fees in fields that he has not done billing for in over twenty five years. Thus, the court grants Ramos’s motion on these grounds.

However, the court notes that Ramos’s argument that MacMaster’s expert testimony is unreliable, irrelevant, and confusing the jury fails because MacMaster was not hired to testify on causation, rather to opine on whether past medical expenses were reasonable or necessary.  The court notes that MacMaster reviewed Ramos’s medical records, determined the extent of her injuries, and opined as to whether the treatment she received were necessary.  Thus, the court denies this part of the motion.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Benzel MacMaster is granted in part and denied in part.