Pathology Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Part; Police Procedures Expert Testimony Allowed in Full.

Plaintiff sued defendant after her son was killed by police officers.  Plaintiff hires two expert witnesses to help prove her case.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.

Facts:  This case (Bah v. The City of New York et al – United States District Court – Southern District of New York – January 31st 2017) involves claims for excessive use of force and unlawful entry.  Mohamed Bah was Tasered and shot by the police after his mother called an ambulance to take her emotionally disturbed son to the hospital.  The police officers were unsuccessful in communicating with Bah and when they opened the door to his apartment, he allegedly yielded a knife and was shot and killed.   The Plaintiff (Oumou Bah, Bah’s mother) hired two experts to assist in proving her case: Michael M. Baden, M.D. (Pathology Expert Witness) and Gene Maloney (Police Procedures Expert Witness).  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude the witness testimony of these experts.

Discussion:  The defendants claim that Dr. Baden is not qualified to testify about bullet trajectory.   The court disagreed with this argument, stating that Dr. Baden is qualified as he chaired Forensic Pathology Panels and testified before congress about the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In addition, Dr. Baden has testified numerous times in the past regarding the trajectory of gunshot wounds.

The defendants argue that Dr. Baden did not put forth any methodology to support his findings on bullet trajectories. However, the court replied, Dr. Baden did put forth such methodology.  In addition, the defendants state that Dr. Baden’s testimony on bullet trajectories will not be helpful as it does not make use of expert knowledge.  Again, the court disagreed.

Next, the defendants state that Dr. Baden’s testimony regarding Bah’s psychological state (including his mental pain and emotional suffering)  should be excluded because Dr. Baden lacks training, experience, and education dealing with psychiatric matters in cases like this one.  In addition, they argue that this type of testimony is mere speculation.  The court agreed with the defendants, opining that it is not clear how his occupation involves an expertise in psychiatry.  The court stated that this type of testimony will be unhelpful to the jury.

The defendants have filed a motion to exclude the testimony of Mr. Maloney.  Maloney’s testimony evaluates the procedures used by the defendants when they responded to Bah’s apartment.  First, they state that his is not qualified to opine on police tactics and their interactions to EDPs (emotionally disturbed persons).  The court opined that  these contentions are not correct as Mr. Maloney has been involved with training in dealing with EDPs.

In addition, the defendants argue that Maloney’s testimony is not reliable because he doesn’t utilize any methodology to come to his conclusions and that his opinions will not be helpful to the jury.  The court disagreed, and allowed all of the expert testimony of Mr. Maloney.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Michael M. Baden, M.D. is granted and denied in part.  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony Gene Maloney is denied.