United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' DAUBERT MOTION
G. TORRES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Wexford Health Sources,
Inc.'s (“Wexford”) and Marta Castillo's
(“Ms. Castillo”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) Daubert motion to exclude
the testimony of Craig Salvani's
(“Plaintiff”) experts, Dr. Chertoff and Dr. Kern.
[D.E. 118]. Plaintiff responded to Defendants' motion on
August 15, 2019 [D.E. 138] to which Defendants replied on
August 22, 2019. [D.E. 145]. Therefore, Defendants'
motion is now ripe for disposition. After careful
consideration of the motion, response, reply, relevant
authority, and for the reasons discussed below,
Defendants' motion is
is a former inmate at the Florida Department of Corrections
(“FDOC”) who filed this action on December 18,
2017 for a violation of his civil rights. [D.E. 1]. Plaintiff
entered the custody of the FDOC at the South Florida
Reception Center on February 6, 2014. Employees of Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”) provided medical
services at the prison. On February 12, 2014, a urinalysis
indicated that Plaintiff had an infection. A nurse ordered an
x-ray and another urinalysis was scheduled in seven days. The
x-ray allegedly included a granuloma in Plaintiff's left
lung and another x-ray was recommended. Plaintiff claims,
however, that the follow-up x-ray was never performed and
that five days later a nurse noticed that Plaintiff had an
increased heart rate.
February 20, 2014, prison officials transferred Plaintiff to
the Regional Medical Center - a hospital that FDOC owns and
where Corizon Health, Inc. (“Corizon”) provides
medical services. Plaintiff alleges that he complained to
medical personnel during the next several days. At 1:14 a.m.
on February 24, 2014, Plaintiff claims that he suffered from
hyperventilation and low blood pressure. Plaintiff then
alleges that Jorge Caraballo (“Dr. Caraballo”)
examined him at 4:20 a.m. and that Dr. Caraballo ordered an
IV and laboratory testing. Plaintiff was transferred to an
outside hospital later that morning and he was diagnosed with
sepsis, pneumonia, and endocarditis. Approximately two weeks
later, Plaintiff's legs were amputated. Plaintiff alleges
that he was injured because Corizon has a policy of saving
money at the expense of delivering quality medical care.
Plaintiff also claims that Dr. Caraballo could not treat him
immediately because Dr. Caraballo was required to get
permission before he could send Plaintiff to the hospital.
Because Corizon failed to deliver quality healthcare and
attempted to save money at the cost of Plaintiff's
well-being, Plaintiff concludes that Corizon violated his
APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES AND LAW
decision to admit or exclude expert testimony is within the
trial court's discretion and the court enjoys
“considerable leeway” when determining the
admissibility of this testimony. See Cook v. Sheriff of
Monroe County, Fla., 402 F.3d 1092, 1103 (11th Cir.
2005). As explained in Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), the
admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Fed.R.Evid.
The party offering the expert testimony carries the burden of
laying the proper foundation for its admission, and
admissibility must be shown by a preponderance of the
evidence. See Allison v. McGhan Med. Corp., 184 F.3d
1300, 1306 (11th Cir. 1999); see also United States v.
Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004)
(“The burden of establishing qualification,
reliability, and helpfulness rests on the proponent of the
expert opinion, whether the proponent is the plaintiff or the
defendant in a civil suit, or the government or the accused
in a criminal case.”).
Rule 702 and Daubert, district courts must act as
‘gate keepers' which admit expert testimony only if
it is both reliable and relevant.” Rink v.
Cheminova, Inc., 400 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2005)
(citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589). The purpose of
this role is “to ensure that speculative, unreliable
expert testimony does not reach the jury.” McCorvey
v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 298 F.3d 1253, 1256 (11th
Cir. 2002). Also, in its role as ''gatekeeper,
'' its duty is not ''to make ultimate
conclusions as to the persuasiveness of the proffered
evidence.'' Quiet Tech. DC-8, Inc. v.
Hurel-Dubois UK Ltd., 326 F.3d 1333, 1341 (11th Cir.
facilitate this process, district courts engage in a
three-part inquiry to determine the admissibility of expert
(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.
City of Tuscaloosa, 158 F.3d 548, 562 (11th Cir.
1998) (citations omitted). The Eleventh Circuit refers to the
aforementioned requirements as the “qualification,
” “reliability, ” and
“helpfulness” prongs and while they “remain
distinct concepts”; “the courts must take care
not to conflate them.” Frazier, 387 F.3d at
1260 (citing Quiet Tech, 326 F.3d at 1341).
determining the reliability of a scientific expert opinion,
the Eleventh Circuit also considers the following factors to
the extent possible:
(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. Notably, however, these factors do not exhaust the
universe of considerations that may bear on the reliability
of a given expert opinion, and a federal court should
consider any additional factors that may advance its Rule 702
Quiet Tech, 326 F.3d at 1341 (citations omitted).
The aforementioned factors are not “a definitive
checklist or test, ” Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593,
but are “applied in case-specific evidentiary
circumstances, ” United States v. Brown, 415
F.3d 1257, 1266 (11th Cir. 2005). While this inquiry is
flexible, the Court must focus “solely on principles
and methodology, not on conclusions that they
generate.” Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594-95. It is
also important to note that a “district court's
gatekeeper role under Daubert ‘is not intended
to supplant the adversary system or the role of the
jury.'” Quiet Tech, 326 F.3d at 1341
(quoting Maiz v. Virani, 253 F.3d 641, 666 (11th
Cir. 2001)). Rather, “[v]igorous cross-examination,
presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on
the burden of proof are the traditional and appropriate means
of attacking but admissible evidence.”
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 580; see also Chapman v.
Procter & Gamble Distrib., LLC, 766 F.3d 1296, 1306
(11th Cir. 2014) (“As gatekeeper for the expert
evidence presented to the jury, the judge ‘must do a