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Kennedy v. Magnolia Marine Transp. Co.

Area of Law:

Personal injury. This matter arose from injuries a seaman sustained while working on a ship.

Grounds:

Plaintiff challenged certain testimony as inappropriate for expert opinion. Defendant moved to exclude testimony regarding potential future earnings as speculative and safety experts’ testimony as duplicative.

Outcome:

All motions were denied.

Analysis:

Plaintiff’s motion:

It was not unfair for the defendant’s medical expert to testify he was hired to perform “independent assessment” of plaintiff’s medical condition, because the terms “independent exam” or “independent assessment” in this context suggest only that the examination was performed by someone other than the plaintiff’s treating physician. The expert was also allowed to opine that plaintiff should be able to return to work, maintain his balance, and that plaintiff’s proposed life care plan is therefore medically unnecessary. A medical doctor may testify regarding a plaintiff’s vocational prospects, given plaintiff’s medical limitations. Finally, the expert was allowed to opine that plaintiff has a good chance at a “wonderful and positive life.” When considered in context, this opinion was offered from a medical and not a “philosophical” standpoint. Cross examination could resolve any ambiguity in this regard.

Defendant’s motions:

Defendant moved to exclude testimony or evidence regarding the earnings of a pilot because plaintiff was a mate at the time of the accident and it was not probable that he would ever have become a pilot. There were genuine issues of material fact, which were the province of the jury.

The ruling on the motion to exclude duplicative testimony was deferred until trial when the court would be in a better position to evaluate any duplicity.