Summary: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness allowed to testify in automobile collision lawsuit even though the plaintiff argued that the expert shouldn’t be allowed to testify because he is not a surgeon.
Facts: This case (KA WAI JIMMY LO, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – United States District Court – Western District of Washington – April 5th, 2022) involves an accident involving the plaintiff and a United States Postal Service employee. After exhausting his administrative claims, the plaintiff filed suit in this court. In 0rder to prove his case, the defendant hired Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness Dr. Edward Dagher to provide expert witness testimony. The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude Dr. Dagher from testifying.
Discussion: The plaintiff argues that certain opinions of Dr. Dagher should be excluded. Specifically, the opinion that certain surgical procedures were not related to the November 23, 2012 crash and that the plaintiff’s lumbar surgery was not indicated at the time of the surgery. The plaintiff also states that Dr. Dagher is not qualified to offer an opinion in this case because he is not a surgeon and does not have the knowledge of surgical procedures. In addition, the plaintiff states that Dr. Dagher’s opinion is subjective in terms of deciding whether a surgery is necessary.
The Government argues that Dr. Dagher is not providing an opinion on the surgeries themselves, but the causal relationships between the plaintiff’s lumbar surgery in 2016 and the 2012 collision and the causal relationship between the plaintiff’s 2020 hip surgery and the 2012 collision. In addition, the Government argues that Dr. Dagher has the requisite expertise to offer these opinions because he is a physiatrist, who can determine whether certain surgeries are medically necessary.
The court opines that Dr. Dagher is qualified to offer an opinion in this case because he has the relevant expertise as to whether the plaintiff’s surgeries were medically necessary. Also, the court states that Dr. Dagher may provide his own opinion while also indicating that other medical professionals may disagree with him. However, the court does state that Dr. Dagher’s opinion on expertise is a difficult call. The court notes that Dr. Dagher’s declaration that he can be called upon to analyze whether certain injuries were caused by a certain event is not that same as he does get called on to do the analysis. In addition, the court states that Dr. Dagher does not mention any education, experience, or training for his expertise in performing causation analysis. The court opines that it will defer a ruling on this latter issue for another time.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Edward Dagher is denied.