United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
RUSSELL HUBBLE, as Personal Representative of the Estate of JENNIFER LYNN MEYERS, Deceased, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF MACOMB, et al., Defendants.
R. Grand United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER (I) GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
TO PRECLUDE PLAINTIFF FROM ELICITING EXPERT TESTIMONY FROM
L.J. DRAGOVIC. M.D. ŒCF NO. 81) and (2) DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO FILE A SUR-REBUTTAL ŒCF NO.
D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action involves the tragic death of Jennifer Meyers, a
37-year-old woman who died as a result of acute sepsis while
serving a thirty-day sentence on an outstanding bench warrant
at the Macomb County Jail. Her Estate has filed suit against
Macomb County, the Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham
(collectively "the Macomb County Defendants"),
Correct Care Solutions, LLC ("CCS"), the health
care provider for the jail, and several CCS
staff. The Complaint alleges that the Defendants
caused Ms. Meyers's death by being deliberately
indifferent to her medical needs and thus violating her
rights under the Eighth Amendment to be free from cruel and
Defendants now move to preclude Plaintiff from eliciting
expert testimony from Dr. Dragovic, M.D., regarding alleged
constitutional violations or causation. (ECF No. 81.)
Plaintiff has filed a Response (ECF No. 89), CCS has filed a
Reply (ECF No. 92), following which Plaintiff filed a Motion
to Allow Plaintiff to File a Sur-Rebuttal Response to CCS
Defendants' Reply (ECF No. 95), to which the CCS
Defendants have filed a Response (ECF No. 98). The Court held
a hearing on the motion on January 24, 2019. For the reasons
that follow, the Court DENIES the motion to file a
sur-rebuttal and GRANTS the motion to preclude Dr.
Dragovic's opinions and testimony.
background facts of this action are set forth in great detail
in an Opinion and Order issued this same day resolving the
Defendants' motions for summary judgment. Facts that are
specifically relevant to the Daubert issues raised
here will be mentioned in the analysis section.
of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence
702 and informed by the seminal case applying Rule 702,
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469
(1993)." In re Southeastern Milk Antitrust
Litigation, 739 F.3d 262, 276 (6th Cir. 2014). Fed.
Evid. 702 provides:
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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702.
rules of evidence - especially Rule 702 - do assign to the
trial judge the task of ensuring that an expert's
testimony both rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant
to the task at hand." Daubert, 509 U.S. at 597.
The trial court's "gatekeeping" task with
respect to expert testimony applies not just to scientific
evidence, as was at issue in Daubert, but to all
types of specialized knowledge presented through an expert
witness. Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael, 526
U.S. 137, 148-49 (1999). ""[T]he relevant
reliability concern may focus upon personal knowledge or
experience... [as] there are many different kinds of experts,
and many different kinds of expertise." Id. at
150. The Court must analyze separately the proposed
expert's qualifications, reliability and helpfulness.
Sixth Circuit has noted that absolute certainty is not
required of an expert but that sheer speculation, regardless
of the qualifications of the speculator, lacks sufficient
Rule 702, we recognize, does not require anything approaching
absolute certainty. SeeDaubert, 509 U.S. at 590, 113
S.Ct. 2786. And where one person sees speculation, we
acknowledge, another may see knowledge, which is why the