Plaintiff filed suit against defendant involving a motor vehicle accident. The defendant hired a Spine Surgery Expert Witness to provide testimony. The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying. The court denied the motion.
Facts: This case (Annese v. US Xpress Inc et al – United States District Court – Western District of Oklahoma – March 18th, 2019) involves a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant negligently drove a tractor-trailer and caused an accident which resulted in damages to her. The defendant has hired Spine Surgery Expert Witness Dr. Stephen B. Conner to provide testimony. The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.
Discussion: The plaintiff alleges that Dr. Conner is not qualified to render an expert opinion in this case because he has not performed spinal surgery in 15-20 years. The defendant states that Dr. Conner is qualified to testify as an expert witness.
The plaintiff’s challenge the testimony of Dr. Conner because he has not performed any spinal surgeries over the past 15-20 years, yet his testimony criticizes the strategies and decisions of the plaintiff’s doctor. The plaintiff also states that there have been a number of advances in the field of spinal surgery over the 15-20 years, so much that it is now a sub-specialty in the medical field. Thus, they argue, Dr. Conner is not qualified to provide testimony on spinal surgery. In addition, they state that any testimony from Dr. Conner would be unreliable.
The defendant states that when he did perform surgeries, Dr. Conner did so regularly for 15-20 years. In addition, the defendant states that Dr. Conner consults with clients about spinal surgery, stays current on new developments and technologies within the field, and still performs surgeries, although they are not spinal surgeries. Thus, the defendant objects to the plaintiff’s statement that Dr. Conner is not qualified to give reliable testimony about spinal surgery, just because he stopped performing them.
The court opines that Dr. Conner is qualified to provide testimony about the medical and surgical decisions of the plaintiff’s doctor. The court states that Dr. Conner performed surgery for at least 15 years and has stayed abreast on developments within the field, having advised clients who have received spinal surgery. The court opines that Dr. Conner’s time away from performing spinal surgery is not sufficient to render him unqualified on the subject.
In addition, the plaintiff does not challenge the methodology used by Dr. Conner. To be sure, the court notes that Dr. Conner’s proffered testimony is based on sufficient facts and data, is based on reliable principles, and reliably applies the principles to the facts.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Stephen B. Conner is denied.