United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause comes before the Court on defendant Union Insurance
Company's (“Union”) Second Motion in
Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Expert . In the
motion, Union urges this Court to exclude plaintiff Anthony
Smith's proffered expert, Lydia Quarles, for various
reasons. Smith filed a response in opposition to the motion,
to which Union filed a reply. The Court, having reviewed
these submissions and relevant authorities, is now prepared
action is based upon a dispute between an injured employee
and a workers' compensation insurance carrier. Anthony
Smith was employed by the Desoto County School District in
Desoto County, Mississippi. On August 10, 2009, Smith
attempted to replace a light bulb in his classroom. However,
the light bulb unexpectedly exploded, causing Smith to lose
his balance and fall from a ten-foot ladder. As a result of
the fall, Smith sustained serious injuries to his head, neck,
back, and shoulder. At the time of Smith's injury, Union
was Desoto County School District's workers'
compensation insurance carrier.
the severity of his injuries, Smith required extensive
medical care. Smith alleges, however, that he failed to
receive the medical care he needed in a timely fashion due to
Union's unnecessary delay in authorizing various
treatments. He consequently filed the present action in this
Court on September 24, 2015, alleging that Union acted in bad
faith by delaying authorization of various medical treatments
he needed. Specifically, Smith avers that “[t]he
delays, and the refusal to investigate [his] need for medical
care is systemic behavior of a willful nature representing a
repetitious, and intentional wrong against [him], and
illustrates a gross and reckless disregard for the impact any
delay in care had upon [him].”
present motion concerns Smith's proffered expert, Lydia
Quarles. The Court has already disposed of Union's first
motion to exclude Quarles, granting it in part and
prohibiting Quarles from supplementing her original report
after the applicable deadline to do so. Now, Union contends
that Quarles is unqualified and that her opinions are wholly
irrelevant and unreliable. Having reviewed the parties'
arguments, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court
finds that the motion should be denied.
Standard for Expert Testimony
Court has previously recognized its duty “to screen a
proffered expert's testimony to determine
admissibility.” Childs v. Entergy Miss., Inc.,
2009 WL 2508128, *2 (N.D. Miss. Aug. 13, 2009). “Expert
testimony is not admissible unless the expert is qualified
and the opinion is scientifically valid and methodologically
sound.” Miller v. Genie Indus., Inc., 2012 WL
161408, at *4 (N.D. Miss. Jan. 19, 2012) (citing Daubert
v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 592-93, 113
S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993)).
an expert's qualifications, “[d]istrict courts must
be assured that the proffered witness is qualified to testify
by virtue of his ‘knowledge, skill, experience,
training, or education.'” Wilson v. Woods,
163 F.3d 935, 937 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Fed.R.Evid.
702).“A proposed expert does not have to
be ‘highly qualified in order to testify about a given
issue. Differences in expertise bear chiefly on the weight to
be assigned to the testimony by the trier of fact, not its
admissibility.'” Bryant, 78 F.Supp.3d at
631 (quoting Huss v. Gayden, 571 F.3d 442, 452 (5th
Cir. 2009)). Moreover, “[a] lack of personal experience
. . . should not ordinarily disqualify an expert, so long as
the expert is qualified based on some other factor provided
by Rule 702: ‘knowledge, skill, experience, training,
or education.'” U.S. v. Wen Chyu
Liu, 716 F.3d 159, 168 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Fed.R.Evid. 702) (emphasis in original). The Court also notes
that the proponent of expert testimony bears the burden to
establish the witness's qualifications by a preponderance
of the evidence. U.S. v. Griffith, 118 F.3d 318, 322
(5th Cir. 1997).
to the substance of the expert's proposed testimony,
“the overarching concern is whether or not it is
relevant and reliable.” Smith v. Goodyear Tire
& Rubber Co., 495 F.3d 224, 227 (5th Cir. 2007).
Regarding relevance, the testimony must “assist the
trier of fact to understand the evidence or determine a fact
in issue[.]” Childs, 2009 WL 2508128, at *2.
The relevance requirement is satisfied “where there is
a sufficient relationship between the subject of the
proffered testimony and the facts of the case, so that the
testimony aids the factfinder in resolving a disputed
issue.” Id. (additional citations omitted). As
to reliability, “[a] party seeking to introduce expert
testimony must show ‘(1) the testimony is based upon
sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of
reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has
applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of
the case.'” Smith, 495 F.3d at 227 (citing
Fed.R.Evid. 702). “Proposed testimony must be supported
by appropriate validation- i.e., ‘good grounds, '
based on what is known. In short, the requirement that an
expert's testimony pertains to ‘scientific
knowledge' establishes a standard of evidentiary
reliability.” Reed v. Flores, 2010 WL 5051474,
at *2 (N.D. Miss. Dec. 3, 2010) (quoting Daubert,
509 U.S. at 590).
Court must also “make certain that an expert, whether
basing testimony upon professional studies or personal
experience, employs in the courtroom the same level of
intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an
expert in the relevant field.” Id. (quoting
Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 152, 119
S.Ct. 1167, 143 L.Ed.2d 238 (1999)) (additional citations
omitted). Additionally, “[t]he party offering the
expert testimony bears the burden of proving that the
testimony is admissible.” Miller, 2012 WL
161408, at *4 (citing Smith, 495 F.3d at 227).
makes four arguments in favor of excluding Quarles.
Specifically, it contends that (1) her opinions should be
excluded as untimely; (2) her opinions are inadmissible
pursuant to Rules 702 and 703 of the Federal Rules of
Evidence and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals,
509 U.S. 579 (1993); (3) her failure to consider the use of
the medical fee schedule and utilization review rules renders
her opinions inadmissible; and (4) she is unqualified to
provide opinions regarding industry standards. The Court will
address each of these arguments in turn.
Court first considers Union's argument that Quarles'
opinions as to the fee schedule and utilization review should
be excluded as untimely. ...