Psychology Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Employment Litigation

Summary: Psychology Expert Witness allowed to testify as the court opined that the expert has sufficient basis for his opinions.

Facts:  This case (David Lillie v. Mantech Int l Corp., et al – United States District Court – Central District of California – December 3rd, 2018) involves a claim by the plaintiff against his former employer, the defendant.  The plaintiff argues that the defendant wrongly retaliated against him after it was reported that the plaintiff received allegedly unauthorized access to confidential information owned by a third-party.  The plaintiff has filed suit under the False Claims Act, Defense Contractor Whistleblower Protection Act, and the California Labor Code.  The plaintiff has hired Psychology Expert Witness Leslie Michelle Daugherty as a non-retained expert provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Description: Daugherty assessed the plaintiff and diagnosed him with anxiety issues, insomnia, and poor sleep.  The plaintiff seeks Daugherty to provide testimony regarding diagnosis and treatment related to the harassment and retaliation he was subjected to as well as the harassment and retaliation he was experienced with the government entity he worked for as a contractor.

The defendant argues that Daugherty’s expert opinion should be excluded because she stated in her deposition because she could not remember certain details about the plaintiff’s appointment and because she acknowledged that multiple factors could have led to the plaintiff’s anxiety.  Thus, the defendant argues, Daugherty’s opinion would be helpful to the factfinder.  The defendant further argues hat Daugherty’s opinion is not based on facts, data, or reliable methodologies, but the plaintiff’s own assertions about his emotion issues.

The court ruled that defendant’s arguments are unavailing and opines that whether Daugherty has a sufficient basis for her opinions on plaintiff’s diagnosis is best left for cross-examination.  However, the court does opine that Daugherty’s testimony is limited to the medical conclusions she formulated during the course of treatment.  The court also opines that Daugherty may not testify on the facts of plaintiff’s alleged retaliation claims or the conduct of the defendant.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the testimony of Leslie Michelle Daugherty is denied.