Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ingram v. County of Camden

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 29, 2019

XAVIER INGRAM and DARREN A. DICKERSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTY OF CAMDEN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         1. On June 14, 2014, Plaintiff Xavier Ingram was allegedly assaulted by several Camden County Police Officers resulting in catastrophic injuries including quadriplegia, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As the alleged assault unfolded, Plaintiff Darren A. Dickerson was a bystander who yelled curse words at the police officers about their misconduct and allegedly was also attacked by certain police officers, causing injury, also in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs filed separate suits in this Court which were consolidated by the Court under this case number on January 15, 2019. (See Order [Docket Item 211].)

         2. This matter comes before the Court by way of two motions to strike the opinions and testimony of expert witnesses Dr. James Yue, M.D., and Dr. Paul Ivancic, Ph.D., proffered by Plaintiff Ingram, filed by Defendants County of Camden, Camden County Police Department, Chief John Scott Thomson, Orlando Cuevas, and Nicholas Marchiafava (hereinafter, collectively, “County Defendants”). (See Motion to Exclude the Opinions and Testimony of James Yue, M.D. (hereinafter “Yue Mot.”) [Docket Item 140]; Motion to Exclude the Opinions and Testimony of Paul Ivancic, Ph.D. (hereinafter “Ivancic Mot.”) [Docket Item 141].) The present motions were joined by Defendant Jeremy Merck, (see Letter [Docket Item 153]), and opposed by Plaintiff Ingram. (See Plaintiff Ingram's Brief in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Preclude the Testimony of Plaintiff Ingram's Expert James Yue, M.D. (hereinafter “Yue Opp'n”) [Docket Item 161]; Plaintiff Ingram's Brief in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Preclude the Testimony of Plaintiff Ingram's Expert Paul Ivancic, Ph.D. (hereinafter “Ivancic Opp'n”) [Docket Item 162].) Thereafter, County Defendants filed reply briefs in relation to each motion. (See Reply Brief in Further Support of Motion to Strike the Opinions and Testimony of James Yue, M.D. (hereinafter “Yue Reply”) [Docket Item 186]; Reply Brief in Further Support of Motion to Strike the Opinions and Testimony of Paul Ivancic, Ph.D. (hereinafter “Ivancic Reply”) [Docket Item 187].)

         3. The context of the present Daubert motions, very briefly summarized, arises from an incident of a police foot-chase of the Plaintiff, Xavier Ingram, as the officers apprehended him upon suspicion that he had discarded a pistol in a nearby parking area. As Ingram ran from the officers, he slipped and fell, seemingly feet first, on wet pavement, striking his buttocks and probably shoulders and head as he fell, all without being touched by the officers. Within less than a second, the officers jumped on or near his torso as he lay on the ground. The precise actions taken by the officers, and the necessity and degree of force imposed upon Plaintiff are in great dispute. It is not disputed that Plaintiff sustained grievous, paralyzing injuries to his cervical spine and spinal cord due to trauma suffered by his neck. The neck injuries included a fracture dislocation of the left C4-5 facet joint, a perched right facet, right-sided paramuscular injury, vertebral artery dissection, spinal cord displacement, and ejection of a large disc fragment behind the C4-5 vertebral bodies, all resulting in permanent quadriplegia. Plaintiff alleges the fall caused no injury and that the quadriplegia was the result of police officers kneeing his neck on the pavement and stomping on his neck. Plaintiff Ingram's experts at issue in this motion seek to offer opinions, inter alia, as to the causal mechanism of such an injury so as to rule out the slip-and-fall as the cause and to establish to a reasonable certainty that the officers' application of force was the cause. The Defendants have generally blamed the fall itself for all injuries, for which they could not be liable since the officers did not touch him before the fall. There is also a significant dispute whether his injuries were caused by police roughness after he was arrested as they moved him in several ways without protecting his neck and spine.

         4. The Court has considered the submissions and held oral argument with regard to these motions on February 26, 2019. Prior to the oral argument, on February 25, 2019, the Court convened two pre-hearing conference calls, off the record, with the attorneys to discuss the logistics pertaining to the oral argument and to encourage the parties to meet and confer in order to find any areas of agreement with respect to the present motion. All counsel agreed that testimony of these challenged experts would not be necessary at the Daubert hearing the next day.

         5. For the reasons set forth below, County Defendants' motion to bar the opinion and testimony of Dr. Yue will be granted in part and denied in large part and County Defendants' motion to bar the opinion and testimony of Dr. Ivancic will be denied.

         6. Dr. Yue and Dr. Ivancic furnished lengthy and detailed expert reports (initial and supplemental), accompanied by their impressive professional CV's, and each prospective witness was deposed by defendants at length. In some instances, defense counsel raised questions at disposition which went beyond the opinions expressed in the experts' reports and defense counsel now object to the answers they received as being improper; this aspect of the motions was resolved by agreement of Plaintiff Ingram's counsel to not adduce such testimony beyond the experts' reports at trial.

         7. The admissibility of Dr. Yue's and Dr. Ivancic's testimony is subject to Rules 702 and 703 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which mandate that:

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or 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. Expert opinions may be based on

facts or data in the case that the expert has been made aware of or personally observed. If experts in the particular field would reasonably rely on those kinds of facts or data in forming an opinion on the subject, they need not be admissible for the opinion to be admitted. But if the facts or data would otherwise be inadmissible, the proponent of the opinion may disclose them to the jury only if their probative value in helping the jury evaluate the opinion substantially outweighs their prejudicial effect.

Fed. R. Evid. 703.

         8. Rule 702 has been distilled into “a trilogy of restrictions on expert testimony: qualification, reliability, and fit.” Schneider ex. rel. Estate of Schneider v. Fried, 320 F.3d 396, 404 (3d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). Qualification refers to the requirement that the witness possess specialized expertise. The Third Circuit has “interpreted the specialized knowledge requirement liberally, and ha[s] stated that this policy of liberal admissibility of expert testimony extends to the substantive as well as the formal qualification of experts.” Waldorf v. Shuta, 142 F.3d 601, 625 (3d Cir. 1998) (citing In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 35 F.3d 717, 741 (3d Cir. 1994)).

         9. Reliability means that the expert's testimony must be based on the “methods and procedures of science” rather than on “subjective belief or unsupported speculation, ” and “[p]roposed testimony must be supported by appropriate validation....” Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,509 U.S. 579, 590 (1993). Daubert announced a non-exhaustive list of factors that bear on the inquiry of reliability: (1) whether the theory or technique can be and has been tested, (2) whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review, (3) the known or potential rate of error and the existence of and maintenance of standards controlling the technique's operation, and (4) general acceptance of the practice. Oddi v. Ford Motor Co.,234 F.3d 136, 144-45 (3d Cir. 2000) (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593-97). “[A]ny step that renders the analysis unreliable under the Daubert factors renders the expert's testimony inadmissible. This is true whether the step completely changes a reliable methodology or merely misapplies that methodology.” In re Paoli,35 F.3d 717, 745 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re TMI Litig., 193 F.3d 613, 695 (3d Cir. 1999); In re Human Tissue Products Liab. Litig.,582 F.Supp.2d 644, 656 (D.N.J. 2008). ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.