Plaintiff sued defendant on behalf of an individual under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Plaintiff hired a Vocational Evaluation & Rehabilitation Expert Witness to provide testimony. Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert, which was denied by the court.
Facts: This case (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wesley Health System, LLC – United States District Court – Southern District of Mississippi – November 19th, 2018) involves a claim by the plaintiff against the defendant under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The plaintiff claims that the defendant violated the ADA when it terminated the employment of Lois Cooper. The plaintiff has hired Trey Moseley (Vocational Evaluation & Rehabilitation Expert Witness) to provide testimony on their behalf. The defendant has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of this expert.
Discussion: First, the defendant states that Moseley should not be allowed to provide opinions on 1) whether it did not reasonably accommodate Cooper, 2) whether the receiving of assistance from coworkers was a reasonable accommodation, or 3) whether getting assistance from coworker would create an undue hardship on it. The defendant alleges that these are legal questions and not appropriate topics for an expert to discuss.
The court opines that whether accommodation is reasonable is a question of fact. In addition, the court opines that whether accommodation poses an “undue hardship” for an employer is also a question of fact. Thus, the questions above are ones for the jury and are appropriate topics for expert testimony.
In addition, the defendant argues that Moseley is not qualified to offer an opinion on the above three statements, as they argue that Moseley as he is not qualified to testify on these issues. The defendant argues that these opinions are legal questions and he is not an attorney. The court opines that these are factual questions, not legal issues. Thus, Moseley’s lack of specialized legal knowledge, experience, or training is not relevant.
The defendant last argues that Moseley’s opinions are not reliable because they are not based on sufficient facts or a reliable methodology. The defendant argues that Moseley does not have enough facts to support his opinions. In addition, the defendant states that Moseley did not ask Cooper key questions about her job duties. The court opines that Moseley’s testimony is not wholly unsupported.
In addition, the defendant argues that Moseley did not employ any methodology to confirm that his anecdotal accounts of RN duties could be compared to Cooper’s duties. The court opines that Moseley’s methodology was simple and can be attacked at trial, but it is not appropriate to exclude the testimony at this stage.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Lois Cooper is denied.