United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
STEPHAN M. VIDMAR United States Magistrate Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgement [sic] for the Plaintiff and to Preclude the
Opinion of Theodore Davis[, ] M[.]D[.] and its Memorandum in
Support [Docs. 100, 101], filed February 13, 2017. Briefing
is complete, [Docs. 105, 114], and oral argument was held on
June 19, 2017. The Court finds that Dr. Davis's opinion
is relevant and reliable. Plaintiff's challenges to Dr.
Davis's opinion go to the weight, not the admissibility,
of the opinion. Moreover, there are genuine issues of
material fact about whether Plaintiff's injuries were
caused by the accident. Therefore, summary judgment is not
Melvin Smith was traveling in an automobile insured by
Defendant Auto-Owners' Insurance Company when it was
struck from behind by a vehicle driven by a State Farm
insured. The collision caused Plaintiff's vehicle to
strike a third vehicle. Plaintiff claims that the accident
aggravated a pre-existing tear to his left rotator cuff,
which caused him to become completely disabled. State
Farm's driver was at fault for the accident. State Farm
adjusted the claim and ultimately contributed its $100, 000
policy limits to satisfy the claims of the various injured
parties, including Plaintiff. As a result of the accident,
Plaintiff received a payment of $26, 731.10 from State Farm
and an additional $5, 000 medical bill payment from
Defendant. Plaintiff contends, however, that his damages
exceed the combined amounts he received from State Farm and
Defendant and that he is entitled to additional money under
the underinsured motorist policy with Defendant. Plaintiff
initiated this lawsuit, claiming, among other things, that
Defendant's failure to pay him the additional money
constitutes Defendant's breach of the insurance
contract. [Doc. 1-1].
has identified G. Theodore Davis, M.D., as a medical expert.
In his report, Dr. Davis opined to a reasonable degree of
medical certainty that, as a result of the accident, at most,
Plaintiff “sustained a minor self[-]limiting
neck[-]region soft tissue strain, and contusions, from which
he recovered without residuals within no more than a few
weeks.” [Doc. 100-5] at 18. Dr. Davis further opined
that Plaintiff neither injured his left shoulder rotator
cuff, nor aggravated any preexisting injury to it.
Id. He opined that Plaintiff did not become disabled
as a result of the accident. Id. He opined that
Plaintiff's injury and disability claims were motivated,
in part, by “psychosocial and secondary gain
factors.” Id. Finally, he opined that even
though Plaintiff had “a long history of multiple
medical conditions, ” none was caused or aggravated by
the accident. Id.
motion, Plaintiff seeks two forms of relief. First, he moves
to exclude the testimony of Dr. Davis based on Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 595 (1993).
See [Docs. 100, 101]. Then, assuming Dr. Davis'
testimony is excluded, he moves for summary judgment on
causation. Id. Although Plaintiff's rationale is
unclear, the logic seems to be that without Dr. Davis'
testimony, all that remains is the testimony of
Plaintiff's treating physicians, all of whom agree that
his injuries were caused by the accident. See [Doc.
100] at 3-4. However, because I will deny the motion to
exclude Dr. Davis' testimony, Plaintiff's argument
for summary judgment is rendered moot.
evaluating a motion to exclude an expert, “[t]he focus,
of course, must be solely on principles and methodology, not
on the conclusions that they generate.”
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595. In demonstrating that an
expert's testimony is reliable, the party offering the
expert opinion “need not prove that the expert is
undisputably correct or that the expert's theory is
generally accepted in the scientific community.”
Bitler v. A.O. Smith Corp., 400 F.3d 1227, 1233
(10th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“Instead, [the party] must show that the method
employed by the expert in reaching the conclusion is
scientifically sound and that the opinion is based on facts
which sufficiently satisfy Rule 702's reliability
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 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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the ...