Vocational Evaluation & Rehabilitation Expert Witness Not Allowed

Plaintiff sued defendant after a fall while on board a sea vessel.  The plaintiff hired a Vocational Evaluation & Rehabilitation Expert Witness to provide testimony on his behalf.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude this testimony, which was granted by the court.

Facts:  This case (Luwisch v. American Marine Corporation – United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana – June 18th 2018) involves a trip and fall aboard a sea vessel.  the plaintiff alleges that while performing an inspection on the M/V American Challenger, he tripped on a rope that was not stowed properly and fell ten feet to the deck below.  The plaintiff alleges that he suffered injuries to his shoulder, arm, neck, and head.  He brings a claim of negligence, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure.  In order to prove his case, the plaintiff hired Vocational Evaluation & Rehabilitation Expert Witness Glenn Hebert to provide testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Hebert.

Discussion:  The defendant argues that Hebert’s testimony should be excluded because he offers opinions regarding the plaintiff’s medical treatment.  In addition, the defendant challenges Hebert’s opinions on the plaintiff’s earning capacity and alleges that the underlying data for his opinion on the long-term economic effects of plaintiff’s disability are flawed and not reliable.  Last, the defendant contends that Hebert’s opinions on vocational rehabilitation lack support.

The defendant first objects to the section in Hebert’s report that entails a discussion of the plaintiff’s medical history.  The court agrees, stating that Hebert will not be permitted to offer an opinion regarding the plaintiff’s medical treatment, because he is not a medical doctor.

Also, the defendant objects to the opinions regarding Hebert’s use of the Gamboa Gibson Worklife Tables and the underlying data used for the tables as they are flawed and unreliable.  The court agrees, stating that Hebert quotes from the study that a disability reduces both earning and worklife expectancy, but does not show how the data support his conclusions.  Thus, the court opines that Hebert’s opinion as to the plaintiff’s work-life expectancy is not reliable and is therefore not admissible.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Glenn Hebert is granted.