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Kyles v. Celadon Trucking Services, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division

September 28, 2017

JOHNNY W. KYLES, Plaintiff,
v.
CELADON TRUCKING SERVICES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DAVID P. RUSH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court are Plaintiffs Daubert Motion to Exclude Charles E. Bain, Daubert Motion to Exclude Andrew J. Sievers, and Daubert Motion to Exclude Portions of Dr. Luke Knox's Opinions (Docs. 131, 132 and 133.) Also before the Court is Defendants' Daubert Motion to Exclude Dr. Robert W. Gaines. (Doc. 140.) The Court decides the Motions as follows:

         I. Plaintiffs Daubert Motion to Exclude Charles E. Bain

         Pursuant to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 588 (1993), Plaintiff moves to exclude the opinion testimony of Defendants' expert witness Dr. Charles E. Bain.

         Dr. Bain is a medically and engineering educated consultant retained by Defendants to provide an injury causation analysis ("ICA") opinion in this matter. Plaintiff argues that Dr. Bain is not qualified to testify as an expert in biomechanics or spinal injuries. Plaintiff also asserts that Dr. Bain's opinions are based on speculation and unreliable statistics. Lastly, Plaintiff claims that Dr. Bain has a substantial history of his testimony being excluded by courts for one or both of the prior reasons.

         As set forth in Defendants' Response, however, the Court agrees that Dr. Bain is qualified to testify both as a medical expert on the subject of spinal injuries, and as an expert in the field of biomechanics. (Doc. 196 at 6-12.) Furthermore, the Court disagrees with Plaintiff s contention that Dr. Bain has no reliable basis for his opinions. As asserted by Defendants, Dr. Bain based his ICA opinion on sufficient facts or data, ICA is a reliable method, and Dr. Bain has reliably applied ICA to the facts of this case. Id. at 12-17. The fact that other courts have excluded or limited Dr. Bain's testimony does not alter the above conclusions.[1]

         Accordingly, Plaintiff s Daubert Motion to Exclude Charles E. Bain will be denied.

         II. Plaintiffs Daubert Motion to Exclude Andrew J. Sievers

         Pursuant to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Daubert, Plaintiff moves to exclude Defendants' expert witness Andrew J. Sievers from offering any opinion related to sleep apnea in this case.

         Mr. Sievers is a trucking safety consultant retained by Defendants to testify as an expert on their behalf. Mr. Sievers has prepared a report, in which he offers the following opinions: (1) Defendant Dwight Jones' sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated; (2) Defendant Celadon Trucking Services, Inc. ("Celadon") was aware of and appropriately monitored Jones' sleep apnea; and (3) there is no evidence that sleep apnea played any causative role in the collision at issue. Plaintiff challenges these opinions, arguing that Mr. Sievers is not an expert in sleep apnea or in the treatment of sleep apnea, and that he has no reliable basis for his opinion that Jones' sleep apnea was effectively treated.

         However, as asserted by Defendants in their Response, the testimony at issue is neither scientific nor technical knowledge, but rather is "other specialized knowledge" under F.R.E. 702 regarding the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations ("FMCSRs") and standards within the trucking industry, subjects on which Mr. Sievers is certainly qualified to offer opinions. (Doc. 197 at 8-9.) His opinions that Jones' sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated and that Celadon was aware of and appropriately monitored Jones' sleep apnea are made from the perspective of a motor carrier, and not as a medical expert. Furthermore, as in Defendants' Response, the Court concurs that Mr. Sievers is qualified to offer, and has a reliable basis for, the opinion that there is no evidence that sleep apnea played any causative role in the collision. Id. at 13-14.

         For these reasons, and for the additional reasons presented by Defendants in their Response, Plaintiff s Daubert Motion to Exclude Andrew J. Sievers will be denied.

         III. Plaintiffs Daubert Motion to Exclude Portions of Dr. Luke Knox's Opinions

         Pursuant to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and Daubert, Plaintiff moves to exclude portions of the opinion testimony of Defendants' expert witness Dr. Luke Knox. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks to exclude Dr. Knox's opinions: (1) regarding the severity of the crash; and (2) that ...


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