Expert Article Library

Cited Publications Are Not Always Necessary to Fulfill Daubert

Case Name: Feliciano-Hill v. Principi

Court: US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; on appeal from District Court of Puerto Rico

Date: February 22, 2006

Type of expert: Medical Doctor—Physician—Rheumatologist. Dr. Sierra-Zorita, rheumatologist

Issue: Must an expert cite published authority to fulfill the requirements of Daubert.

Summary of case: When psychiatric residents stopped coming to the plaintiff’s medical center, she was required to travel around the hospital to see patients, instead of only within her office. The plaintiff, a psychiatrist, claimed she had arthritis and had difficulty walking. Her own physician later diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The hospital sought to accommodate her by offering the use of a wheelchair for traveling within the hospital. Upon refusing she said she was not crippled and wanted to see all her patients in her office. She alleges her employer, the Department of Veterans Affairs, failed to accommodate her disability under the Rehabilitation Act.

Role of the expert: Dr. Sierra-Zorita testified, for the defendant, that the plaintiff did not have rheumatoid arthritis at the time of her complaints and did not have a difficulty in walking.

Expert analysis: Plaintiff argues that Dr. Sierra-Zorita’s report and testimony did not meet the Daubert requirements and should not have been admitted. The Court responded that a doctor does not need to cite published authorities to fulfill the Daubert requirements when testifying about a common condition in his particular expertise. A disagreement between experts is also not grounds for the exclusion of one’s testimony. Moreover objections to her testimony which came

Summary prepared by J. Price, Student, University of California, Hastings School of Law