Expert Article Library

Medical Expert Testimony Found Inadmissible

Case Name: Rolen v. Hansen Beverage Company (unpublished) Click here for the full text of the case)

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit; on appeal from District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee

Date: August 23, 2006

Expert: Medical Expert. Dr. Mark Houston

Issues: Did the district court abuse its discretion in finding the testimony of the plaintiff’s medical expert inadmissible

Summary of case: The Rolens filed suit against Hansen, arguing that Hansen’s juice products had caused Mr. Rolen to suffer stomach problems for which he was hospitalized. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant after finding the testimony of Rolen’s medical expert inadmissible. The Rolens appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court judgment

Role of the expert: Dr. Houston was Mr. Rolen’s regular doctor. He was an internal medicine doctor with no toxicology specialization. Dr. Houston provided causation evidence, testifying that Mr. Rolen had most likely suffered staphylococcal food poisoning as a result of ingesting a Hansen’s Juice Blast drink

Challenges to the Expert's testimony: At trial the district court found Dr. Houston’s testimony inadmissible because it failed to meet the Daubert requirements. The district court noted that Dr. Houston had never tested a Juice Blast product and could not explain why Mr. Rolen became sick only 20 minutes after consuming the drink. The Court of Appeals agreed, stating that Dr. Hansen’s conclusion about causation was not supported by reasoning or methodology.

Summary prepared by R. Zapparoni