United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DAVID L. RHINEHART and LEWIS RHINEHART, Joint Personal Representatives of the Estate of KENNETH A. RHINEHART, Deceased, Plaintiffs,
DEBRA SCUTT, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' DAUBERT MOTION 
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Court Judge
the Court is Defendants' renewed motion to exclude the
testimony of Plaintiffs' retained expert, Dr. Stuart
Finkel. Defendants previously filed an omnibus motion
seeking, among other things, to preclude the expert testimony
of Finkel for failing to satisfy Rule 702. The Court held a
hearing, denied the motion without prejudice, and permitted
Defendants to file a renewed motion further setting forth
their argument that Finkel's expert opinion is not
scientifically supported. The issues presented are
straightforward, so no hearing is necessary. The Court will
grant the motion in part, and deny it in part.
Rule of Evidence 702 governs expert testimony. The rule
permits an expert to testify in the form of an opinion 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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702.
Supreme Court's decision in Daubert provided
additional context for employing the rule. When faced with a
proffer of expert testimony, a trial court must first
determine under Rule 104(a), "whether the expert is
proposing to testify to (1) scientific knowledge that (2)
will assist the trier of fact to understand or determine a
fact in issue." Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 592 (1993). The trial court is
required to make "a preliminary assessment of whether
the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is
scientifically valid and of whether that reasoning or
methodology properly can be applied to the facts in
issue." Id. at 592-93.
burden of establishing the admissibility of expert testimony
rests on the party offering the testimony. Pride v. BIC
Corp., 218 F.3d 566, 578 (6th Cir. 2000). And though
"the rejection of expert testimony is the exception
rather than the rule, " the offering party must
establish its admissibility by a preponderance of proof.
Fed.R.Evid. 702 Advisory Committee Note (2000); Nelson v.
Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 243 F.3d 244, 251 (6th Cir.
Finkel is a medical doctor who is board-certified in
gastroenterology and internal medicine. Finkel Report, ECF
263-10, PgID 5373. Finkel authored a report and made various
conclusions regarding Rhinehart's treatment and the
actions of the doctors who cared for him. At the hearing on
Defendants' previous motion, the Court stated that the
Report itself will not be admitted into evidence because it
contains Finkel's various legal conclusions and
statements about others' knowledge or states of mind. But
Finkel's report also offered medical opinions and
Plaintiffs intend to call Finkel as an expert witness at
trial to testify to those opinions. Defendants now move the
Court to limit his in-court testimony pursuant to
Daubert and Rule 702.
Defendants' requested relief is general-it describes only
"irrelevant and scientifically unsupported
opinions"-their brief more specifically objects to
Finkel testifying to Rhinehart's fear of cancer and
Rhinehart's alleged pain and suffering from not being
evaluated for a TIPS procedure. ECF 310, PgID 7668-69, ...