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Goode v. The City of Southaven

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

September 27, 2018

KELLI DENISE GOODE, Individually, and also as the Personal Representative of Troy Charlton Goode, Deceased, and as Mother, Natural Guardian, and Next Friend of R.G., a Minor, and also on behalf of all similarly situated persons PLAINTIFF
v.
THE CITY OF SOUTHAVEN, et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Kelli Denise Goode's motion to exclude expert opinion testimony that Troy Goode ingested unknown and unidentified drugs. Doc. #405.

         I

         Relevant Procedural History and Background

         On January 13, 2016, Kelli Denise Goode-individually, and in her capacity as the personal representative of her deceased husband, as next friend to her minor son, and on behalf of “similarly situated persons”-filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee “seek[ing] damages and injunctive relief based upon the untimely death of [her husband] Troy Charlton Goode ….” Doc. #1 at 1-2. On August 15, 2016, Kelli, [1] in the same capacities as that in her original complaint, filed an amended complaint, naming as defendants the City of Southaven, Todd Baggett, Jeremy Bond, Tyler Price, Joel Rich, Jason Scallorn, Stacie J. Graham, Mike Mueller, William Painter, Jr., Bruce K. Sebring, Joseph Spence, Richard A. Weatherford; John Doe's 1-10; Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto (“BMH-D”); Southeastern Emergency Physicians, Inc.;[2] and Lemuel D. Oliver, M.D. Doc. #107. In her amended complaint, Kelli asserts numerous state and federal claims against the defendants regarding Troy's death.[3] Id. at 13.

         On March 31, 2017, this action was transferred from the Western District of Tennessee to this Court. Doc. #246. Following transfer, United States Magistrate Judge Roy Percy issued a case management order setting, among other things, the defendants' experts disclosure deadline as September 8, 2017. Doc #283. Oliver disclosed as experts, among others, Charles Dackis, M.D., and Gregory Davis, M.D., along with their expert reports. See Docs. #406-4, #406-5, #446-3.

         Dackis and Davis opine that the beta-phenethylamine detected in one of the toxicology tests conducted as a part of Troy's autopsy may be evidence of an unknown drug that is not LSD or marijuana.[4] Doc. #406-5 at 7; Doc. #446-3 at 2. Dackis opines that beta-phenethylamine “has stimulant properties (like amphetamine or cocaine) and might have been an adulterant” added to the LSD taken by Troy. Doc. #406-5 at 7. Davis discusses beta-phenethylamine in his expert report:

Phenethylamine is a naturally-occurring substance, found in human biological fluids in trace amounts during life and in larger amounts after death. It is also known to be a psychoactive substance with history of illicit use, often at music venues such as festivals, concerts, or raves. Adverse effects with use of this drug include disorientation and frightening hallucinations as well as anxiety and tachycardia. Such a drug may explain some of Mr Goode's symptomatology, including excited delirium, on the day of his death.

Doc. #446-3 at 2 (footnotes omitted).

         After the close of discovery, on January 23, 2018, Kelli, pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 702 and 403, filed a motion to exclude “expert opinion testimony that Troy Goode ingested unknown and unidentified drugs, ” Doc. #405, and a memorandum in support, Doc. #406. Two weeks later, Oliver filed a response, Doc. #446, and memorandum in opposition, Doc. #449. One week later, Kelli replied. Doc. #466.[5]

         II

         Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 provides:

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of ...

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