Psychiatry Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant after she was injured on defendant’s vessel.  Plaintiff hired a Psychiatry Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude this witness.  The court denied the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (Scaccetti v. NCL (BAHAMAS) LTD – United States District Court – Southern District of Florida – November 21st, 2018) involves a maritime personal injury claim.  The plaintiff alleges that she fell on the defendant’s vessel while descending a staircase and requires surgery to repair a fractured ankle after the incident.  The plaintiff hired Dr. Craig H Lichtblau (Psychiatry Expert Witness) to provide testimony on her behalf.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion: The plaintiff underwent several examinations with Dr. Lichtblau after the accident.  The doctor submitted a 253 page report which contains his ultimate conclusions about the plaintiff’s medical condition, her future medical needs, and her ability to work and engage in other activities.  The defendant argues that 1) Lichtblau falsely represent his relationship with the plaintiff to obtain special deference with regard to his opinions; 2) his opinions on future damages are unreliable and speculative; 3) his testimony will not assist the trier of fact; and 4) all of his opinions are unfairly prejudicial.

The defendant argues that Dr. Lichblau’s improperly referred to himself as the plaintiff’s treating physician during his deposition.  The defendant claims that a treating physician’s opinion is entitled to special deference.  The court opines that it will deny this part of the motion.

The defendant also argues that Dr. Lichblau should not be allowed to testify at trial because his opinions about future damages are inadmissible and wholly speculative.  The defendant states that 1) Lichtblau’s opinions are not his own; 2) The opinions lack an adequate basis factually; and 3) The opinions are not reliable because the doctor cannot point to any peer-reviewed literature to support his positions.  The court also denies this part of the motion.

The court also opines that Dr. Lichtblau’s opinions will be helpful to the jury and is also not probative.  The court opines that the defendant does not offer any support for these statements and does not supply any legal authority to support their opinions.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Craig H Lichtblau is denied.