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Janet Feliciano v. City of Miami Beach

January 3, 2012

JANET FELICIANO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH, A MUNICIPAL ENTITY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John J. O'sullivan United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Untimely Disclosed Expert and Report (DE# 110, 11/4/11). The defendants seek to strike the plaintiff's medical expert Dr. Theodore N. Hariton on the ground that Dr. Hariton's disclosure was untimely and in contravention of the Court's Scheduling Order (DE# 45).*fn1 Id. at 1. The plaintiff states that "Dr. Hariton has been retained solely as a rebuttal expert, and will not testify to any medical or scientific facts outside of those necessary to rebut the assertions of [the d]efendants' Medical Expert." Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Rebuttal Expert and Report (DE# 111 at 3, 11/14/11).

Contrary to the defendants' assertions, the Scheduling Order in the instant case does not preclude rebuttal experts. The Scheduling Order is silent on that issue. The plaintiff disclosed its rebuttal expert within the time allotted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(D)(ii).

Even assuming arguendo that Dr. Hariton's disclosure does not comport with the Court's Scheduling Order, the Court has discretion to decide whether to strike an expert witness. Jackson v. Harvard Univ., 900 F.2d 464, 468-69 (1st Cir.1990). In determining whether to strike an expert witness, the Court should consider "several factors, including the history of the litigation, the proponent's need for the challenged evidence, the justification (if any) for the late disclosure and the opponent's ability to overcome its adverse effects (i.e., the degree of prejudice and whether it can be cured or ameliorated)." Kendall Lakes Towers Condo. Ass'n, Inc. v. Pacific Ins. Co., Ltd., No. 10-24310-CIV, 2011 WL 6372198, at *3 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 20, 2011) (citing MaCaulay v. Anas, 321 F.3d 45, 51 (1st Cir. 2003)). Here, Dr. Hariton is necessary to rebut the defendants' position that "an assault may have occurred, but . . . it could not be the cause of [the p]laintiff's miscarriage or physical injuries." Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Rebuttal Expert and Report (DE# 111 at 3 n. 3, 11/14/11). The defendants concede that Dr. Hariton is necessary to the plaintiff's case. See Defendants' Reply in Support of their Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Untimely Disclosed Expert and Report (DE# 124 at 10, 11/22/11) (stating that "[the p]laintiff ha[s] to demonstrate [that the d]efendants proximately caused her miscarriage as an element of her prima facie case"). The timing of the plaintiff's disclosure of Dr. Hariton is explained by the fact that Dr. Hariton is a rebuttal expert and was therefore disclosed after the defendant's medical expert opined on the issue of causation. Additionally, any prejudice that may exist can be cured by allowing the defendants an opportunity to depose Dr. Hariton. Accordingly, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Untimely Disclosed Expert and Report (DE# 110, 11/4/11) is DENIED. The plaintiff shall make Dr. Hariton available for deposition no later than Monday, January 30, 2012.

Copies provided to: United States District Judge Lenard All ...


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