The Louisiana Supreme Court, in Blair v. Mary Coney, 2019-00795 (La.4/3/20), affirmed the trial court’s order excluding the expert opinion testimony of Dr. Charles E. “Ted” Bain because it was not based on sufficient facts or data.
According to the Supreme Court opinion, Dr. Charles E. “Ted” Bain is an injury causation consultant and partial owner of Biodynamics Research Corporation (“BRC”). Dr. Bain obtained a degree in nuclear engineering, but has never been licensed as a professional engineer. Dr. Bain received his medical degree in Canada and practiced in emergency medicine and family medicine. Dr. Bain completed three weeks of Traffic Accident Reconstruction Courses.
In 2014, George Blair filed a lawsuit in Louisiana for injuries he allegedly sustained in a car wreck. In an effort to disprove a causal connection between the alleged injuries and the wreck, the defendants hired Dr. Bain as an expert witness in the areas of biomechanics, injury causation analysis, and accident reconstruction. Dr. Bain issued a report concluding that the low speed rear-end collision subjected Mr. Blair to minimal forces and accelerations that would not cause serious or long-lasting injuries.
The trial court granted a motion to exclude Dr. Bain’s expert opinion testimony because his testimony would not assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue and because it was not based on sufficient facts or data, in violation of Louisiana Code of Evidence articles 702(A)(1) and (A)(2). The trial court reasoned as follows:
This Court cannot find that the testimony of Dr. Bain is based on sufficient facts or data. To allow Dr. Bain to testify to the degree in which Plaintiff suffered injury from the accident without examining his prior medical history or Plaintiff himself, would, in the opinion of this Court, not be based on sufficient facts. Further, Dr. Bain’s undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering and his experience as a general practitioner in family and emergency medicine would not assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. Thus, this Court held that Dr. Bain should be excluded as an expert witness in this matter.
The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal summarily reversed the trial court’s order excluding the expert opinion testimony of Dr. Bain. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted the writ and in Blair v. Mary Coney, 2019-00795 (La.4/3/20), affirmed the trial court’s order excluding the expert opinion testimony of Dr. Bain. After an extensive analysis of Dr. Bain’s qualifications, methodology, and assumptions, the Louisiana Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Dr. Bain’s testimony was based on insufficient facts or data in violation of the requirement of Louisiana Code of Evidence article 702(A)(2).
It was critical to the Supreme Court’s holding that Dr. Bain expressed his opinion that Mr. Blair was not injured by the wreck at issue (1) without condition or stipulation in his report that his conclusions were premised on assumptions he made about the position of Mr. Blair, (2) without acknowledging that Mr. Blair was not looking ahead and therefore possibly not in a “flexed upright position” when he was struck by the defendant vehicle, and (3) without recognition of the limitations on his ability to ascertain the extent of damage to the vehicles because he did not inspect the actual vehicles involved or speak with damage appraisers.