United States District Court, D. New Jersey
OPINION AND ORDER
DOUGLAS E. ARPERT, Magistrate Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on a Motion by Defendant to bar the introduction of evidence at trial concerning three surgical procedures performed on Plaintiff. See Defendant's Trial Brief, filed September 30, 2013, docket entry no. 26-1 ("Deft. Tr. Br.").
Plaintiff has opposed Defendant's Motion. See Plaintiff's Trial Brief, filed October 9, 2013, docket entry no. 27-1 ("Pltf. Tr. Br.").
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 24, 2009, Plaintiff was a patron at a Red Lobster restaurant owned and operated by Defendant. A server at the restaurant dropped a plate onto the table where Plaintiff was seated. The plate shattered and one or more glass fragments went into Plaintiff's eyes.
Plaintiff's eyes were examined at the Emergency Room of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital on the date of the incident. The examination revealed a scleral corneal abrasion but was otherwise normal. Subsequently, Plaintiff was examined by three different eye specialists none of whom found any evidence of any granuloma, caruncle or cataracts.
On April 30, 2010, Iftikhar M. Chaudhry, M.D. performed surgery and removed a granuloma from Plaintiff's left eye. On June 30, 2010, Dr. Chaudhry removed a cataract from Plaintiff's left eye. On July 29, 2010, Dr. Chaudhry removed a cataract from Plaintiff's right eye. Dr. Chaudhry has rendered a written report dated March 15, 2012 and his de bene esse deposition on was conducted on September 3, 2013.
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on February 25, 2011. Defendant filed an Answer on July 12, 2011. Discovery has been concluded. On August 13, 2013, the parties filed consent to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. The trial of this matter is currently scheduled to commence on April 22, 2014.
II. DEFENDANT'S MOTION
In short, Defendant maintains that evidence of the April 30, 2010 surgical excision of the granuloma from Plaintiff's left eye should be barred because it "was proved to be unrelated to the incident by a pathology report." Deft. Tr. Br. at page 4. Likewise, Defendant maintains, evidence related to Plaintiff's two cataract surgeries should be barred because Plaintiff has not established a causal relationship to the incident. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion is DENIED.
A. The April 30, 2010 Surgery
In his report dated March 15, 2012, Dr. Chaudhry stated, Plaintiff "definitely had a foreign body granuloma on his left caruncle...." On April 30, 2010 Dr. Chaudhry performed a surgical procedure during which he removed this granuloma "which was presumed to be glass." Pltf. Tr. Br., Exhibit A, page 2.
Dr. Chaudhry's de bene esse deposition was conducted on September 3, 2013. With respect to this surgery, he testified, "[t]o my palpation when I took off the granuloma, it felt like a hard piece of glass inside." Pltf. Tr. Br., Exhibit B, page 14.
Defendant maintains that Dr. Chaudhry's opinion that the surgery he performed and the granuloma he removed on April 30, 2010 was related to the incident "is directly contradicted by the actual medical evidence", a post-surgical pathology report which contains no reference to glass or other foreign material. Deft. Tr. Br. at page 5. Therefore, ...