Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Part

Plaintiff filed suit against the defendant related to an automobile accident. Plaintiff hired a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude.  The court granted the motion to exclude in part and denied it in part.

Facts:  This case (Dotson v. Price, et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana – June 13th, 2019) involves an automobile accident between the plaintiff and the defendant.  The plaintiff has filed suit against the defendant looking to recover damages from personal injuries he alleges he sustained in the accident.  The defendant’s insurance company is the only remaining defendant in the case.  The plaintiff has hired Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness Gregory M. Stewart, M.D. to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Stewart.

Discussion:  The defendant argues that Dr. Stewart should be excluded from testifying about the plaintiff’s ability to have returned to “any other work” following the accident and that Dr. Stewart’s testimony should be limited to the field of medicine.

The court notes that in his deposition, Dr. Stewart opines that the plaintiff is not likely to be free of pain or able to perform sustained activities due to the pathology of his shoulders and the multiple surgeries that he has had.  Dr. Stewart also alleges that the plaintiff’s limitations make him “unemployable.”  In addition, Dr. Stewart states that he would allow a vocational rehabilitationist to present job descriptions to the plaintiff, but would not defer to those experts regarding the plaintiff’s ability to perform work.

The defendant alleges that Dr. Stewart’s testimony should be limited to the field of medicine and that he should not be allowed to testify on matters that are typically reserved for those in the vocational rehabilitation field.

The court opines that Dr. Stewart is the plaintiff’s treating physician, which means that he has personal knowledge of the plaintiff’s condition and physical limitations.  Thus, the court opines, it will allow Dr. Stewart to testify about matters related to his treatment of the plaintiff, which includes physical limitations that the plaintiff has and the plaintiff’s ability to perform certain tasks.

In addition, the court will allow Dr. Stewart to provide an opinion as to whether the plaintiff’s physical condition and limitations would exclude him from performing the duties of some occupations.

Also, the court opines that Dr. Stewart will not be allowed to testify on matters that are unrelated to his treatment of the plaintiff.  In addition, the court opines that Dr. Stewart will be excluded from testifying to issues related to vocational rehabilitation and he will not be allowed to testify that there are no jobs that the plaintiff could perform or that the plaintiff is not employable.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Gregory M. Stewart, M.D. is granted in part and denied in part.