United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey, United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendants John K. Kimani and Tolyn Express,
LLC's Motion to Limit Testimony of Habib Gennaoui, M.D.
(ECF No. 38). Plaintiffs Terrance Rabon and Kathleen Rabon
filed a response. (ECF No. 43). Intervenor Sentry Select
Insurance Co. filed a response. (ECF No. 45). The Court finds
the matter ripe for consideration.
case arises from an automobile accident that occurred on
October 26, 2013, at the Flying J Truck Stop in Texarkana,
Arkansas. Plaintiff Terrance Rabon (“Mr. Rabon”)
alleges that he suffers from ongoing pain because of the
accident, for which he underwent and is undergoing various
forms of medical treatment, including an anterior cervical
decompression and fusion surgery in April 2014. The parties
do not contest liability in this matter, disputing only
causation and damages.
trial, Plaintiffs intend to offer the expert deposition
testimony of Dr. Habib Gennaoui on the issue of causation.
Defendants seek to limit Dr. Gennaoui's testimony in
three respects. First, Defendants argue that the Court should
exclude Dr. Gennaoui's causation opinions because they
are premised solely on the correlation between the automobile
accident and the onset of Mr. Rabon's complaints of pain.
Second, Defendants argue that the Court should prohibit Dr.
Gennaoui from offering any opinions not stated to a
reasonable degree of medical certainty. Third, Defendants
argue that the Court should prohibit Dr. Gennaoui from
testifying that another doctor diagnosed Mr. Rabon with
myelomalacia,  as this testimony would constitute
Court's starting point for analyzing expert testimony is
the Federal Rules of Evidence, which provide in relevant
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education may testify in the form of
an opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert's scientific,
technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier
of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in
issue; (b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or
data; (c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles
and methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the
principles and methods to the facts of the case.
Fed R. Evid. 702. In Daubert, the United States
Supreme Court emphasized the district court's gatekeeper
role when screening expert testimony for relevance and
reliability. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 591-93 (1993).
assessing the reliability of expert testimony,
Daubert suggests that the Court consider the
following non-exhaustive factors: (1) whether the concept can
and has been tested; (2) whether the concept has been subject
to peer review; (3) what the known rate of error is; and (4)
whether the concept is generally accepted by the relevant
scientific community. Pestel v. Vermeer Mfg. Co., 64
F.3d 382, 384 (8th Cir. 1995). The inquiry as to the
reliability and relevance of the testimony is a flexible one
designed to “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.” Kumho Tire Co. v.
Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 152 (1999).
testimony is inadmissible if it is speculative, unsupported
by sufficient facts, or contrary to the facts of the case.
Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 207 F.3d
1039, 1056-57 (8th Cir. 2000). “Courts should resolve
doubts regarding the usefulness of an expert's testimony
in favor of admissibility.” Marmo v. Tyson Fresh
Meats, Inc., 457 F.3d 748, 758 (8th Cir. 2006).
“Only if the expert's opinion is so fundamentally
unsupported that it can offer no assistance to the jury must
such testimony be excluded.” Bonner v. ISP Techs,
Inc., 259 F.3d 924, 929-30 (8th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Hose v. Chi. Nw. Transp. Co., 70 F.3d 968, 974 (8th
Cir. 1996)). With this in mind, the Court will now address
each of Defendants' arguments.
argues that the Court should exclude Dr. Gennaoui's
causation opinions because they are premised solely on the
correlation between the automobile accident and the onset of
Mr. Rabon's complaints of pain. Defendants argue that Dr.
Gennaoui's causation testimony is a post hoc ergo
prompter hoc argument, “in which one event is
asserted to be the cause of a later event simply by virtue of
having happened earlier, ” and thus is insufficient to
establish causation and should be rejected.
argue that Dr. Gennaoui and other doctors at Dr.
Gennaoui's clinic have served as Mr. Rabon's
primary-care physicians for a number of years. Plaintiffs
state that Dr. Gennaoui's causation opinion was based not
only on onset, but also on Mr. Rabon's prior medical
history, his examination and physical findings, and the
results of radiographic studies. Plaintiffs state that Dr.
Gennaoui testified that Mr. Rabon's reported symptoms of
pain following the accident were inconsistent with his
medical condition and level of functioning before the
accident, as followed by Dr. Gennaoui and his partners.
Plaintiffs also argue that Defendants' retained expert
testified that he also considers onset of symptoms in
determining whether symptoms are the result of acute trauma
or long-term degeneration.
correctly state that a post hoc ergo propter hoc
argument is insufficient to establish causation. See
Bussman Mfg. Co. v. Nat'l Labor Rel. Bd., 111 F.2d
783, 787 (8th Cir. 1940). Defendants argue that Dr.
Gennaoui's causation opinions are based solely on a
post hoc ergo propter hoc argument because he
identified the correlation of the accident and the onset of
Mr. Rabon's complaints of pain as a basis for his
causation opinion. Upon further questioning, Dr. Gennaoui
stated that there was no other basis for his causation
opinion. However, Dr. Gennaoui also testified that he served
as Mr. Rabon's primary-care physician for a number of
years, and thus was familiar with Mr. Rabon's medical
history and physical condition. He testified that Mr.
Rabon's reported neck pain and associated headaches were
consistent with other patients he treated who complained of
suffering neck trauma. Dr. Gennaoui testified that Mr. Rabon
underwent a physical examination and diagnostic tests,
including an ...