United States District Court, S.D. Florida
P. GAYLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Defendant's
Motion to Exclude Opinions of Plaintiffs' Expert Witness,
Rajdeep Gadh, M.D. [ECF No. 66]. The Court has reviewed the
Motion and the record and is otherwise fully advised. For the
reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.
Zoll Services, Inc. (“Zoll”) designs,
manufactures, and markets the LifeVest, a wearable
defibrillator for patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
The LifeVest is made to detect life-threatening heart rhythms
and deliver a shock to restore normal rhythm. The LifeVest is
a Class III medical device, initially approved for sale in
2001 by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).
November 2013, after recovering from a cardiac operation,
Debra Godelia began using the LifeVest. On November 18, 2013,
Mrs. Godelia experienced a defibrillation event and lost
consciousness. Although the parties dispute why, Mrs.
Godelia's LifeVest did not administer a shock. Mrs.
Godelia remained unconscious until she died in the hospital
on November 20, 2013. Plaintiffs Dennis Godelia and Sterling
Youmas (“Plaintiffs”) then filed this action
against Defendant asserting claims for strict products
liability, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation,
fraudulent marketing and promotion, breach of express
warranty, negligent misrepresentation, and negligent
infliction of emotional distress arising out of Mrs.
Godelia's use of the LifeVest.
has now moved to exclude the opinions of Plaintiffs'
expert witness, Dr. Rajdeep Gadh. Dr. Gadh was Mrs.
Godelia's treating nephrologist. He was later retained by
Plaintiffs as an expert. In his Report, Dr. Gadh opines that
“Mrs. Godelia's life expectancy was an additional
8.8 years, and, had she undergone a kidney transplant, an
additional 25 years, after beginning dialysis in 2010.”
Gadh Report, p. 3. Defendant contends that Dr. Gadh's
Report and testimony must be excluded because his opinions
are not reliable and will not assist the trier of
fact. The Court disagrees and finds that
Defendant's arguments go to the credibility of Dr.
Gadh's opinions and the weight the jury should afford
them rather than their admissibility.
Rule of Evidence 702, amended in 2000 in response to the
Supreme Court's decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), states that
an expert witness may testify if: “(a) the expert's
scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will
help the trier of fact to understand the evidence 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(a)-(d). “As the
Supreme Court made abundantly clear in Daubert, Rule
702 compels the district courts to perform the critical
‘gatekeeping' function concerning the admissibility
of expert scientific evidence.” United States v.
Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004) (quoting
Daubert, 509 U.S. 589 n.7).
perform its gatekeeping duty, the Court must conduct a
“rigorous three-part inquiry” under Rule 702,
(1) the expert is qualified to testify competently regarding
the matters he intends to address; (2) the methodology by
which the expert reaches his conclusions is sufficiently
reliable as determined by the sort of inquiry mandated in
Daubert; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of fact,
through the application of scientific, technical, or
specialized expertise, to understand the evidence or to
determine a fact in issue.
Frazier, 387 F.3d at 1260. The proponent of the
expert bears the burden of showing, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that each of these requirements is met.
the Court's gatekeeping function ensures that unreliable
testimony does not reach the jury, the Court must not make
determinations on the credibility or persuasiveness of the
proffered opinions; “vigorous cross-examination,
presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on
the burden of proof are the traditional and appropriate means
of attacking shaky but admissible evidence.” Quiet
Tech. DC-8, Inc. v. Hurel-Dubois UK Ltd., 326 F.3d 1333,
1341 (11th Cir. 2003).
Gadh's Opinions are Reliable
Court finds Dr. Gadh's opinions to be reliable. To assess
reliability, the Court may consider several non-exhaustive
factors including: “(1) whether the expert's theory
can be and has been tested; (2) whether the theory has been
subjected to peer review and publication; (3) the known or
potential rate of error of the particular scientific
technique; and (4) whether the technique is generally
accepted in the scientific community.”
Frazier, 387 F.3d at 1262 (internal citations
omitted). This list “neither necessarily nor
exclusively applies to all experts or in every case.”
Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 141
(1999). The trial court has “the ...