United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
BELINDA LEE MALEY, individually and on behalf of the Estate of Matthew Clinton Loflin, deceased; and GENE LOFLIN, individually; Plaintiffs,
CORIZON HEALTH, INC., a Delaware Corporation; CORIZON, LLC, a Missouri Limited Liability Company; CHATHAM COUNTY, a Georgia County; ROY HARRIS; ESTATE OF AL ST. LAWRENCE; JOHN WILCHER, individually and in his official capacity as Jail Administrator; SCOTT KENNEDY, M.D.; ADAMAR GONZALEZ, M.D.; and VIRGINIA O'NEILL; Defendants.
WILLIAM T. MOORE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is Defendants Corizon Health, Inc., Virginia
O'Neill, and Scott Kennedy's Motion to Limit Expert
Testimony. (Doc. 69.) In their motion, Defendants seek to
limit the testimony of Plaintiffs' medical expert, Dr.
Charles Wickliffe. For the following reasons, Defendants'
motion is DENIED.
2014, Matthew Loflin died from medical complications while
incarcerated at Chatham County Detention Center
("CCDC"). (Doc. 92 at 1-2.) At the time of
Loflin's detention, Defendant Corizon Health Inc.
("Corizon") provided medical services to detainees
at the CCDC pursuant to a contract with Chatham County.
(Id. at 6.) Defendant Dr. Scott Kennedy was employed
by Defendant Corizon as the Regional Medical Director,
(id. at 7.) Defendant Virginia O'Neill was
employed by Defendant Corizon as the Health Services
Administrator. (Id. at 7.)
his death, Loflin's mother, Plaintiff Brenda Maley,
brought suit individually and on behalf of the Estate of
Matthew Loflin. (Doc. 1.) In an amended complaint,
Loflin's father, Plaintiff Gene Loflin, subsequently
joined suit in his individual capacity. (Doc. 92.) In the
amended complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants Corizon
Health, Inc., Scott Kennedy, Virginia O'Neill, and other
defendants were deliberately indifferent to Loflin's
critical medical needs while Loflin was detained at the CCDC.
support of their claim, Plaintiffs have consulted with Dr.
Charles Wickliffe. (Doc. 69-2, Ex. 1.) Dr. Wickliffe is a
cardiologist who has been board certified in the field since
1976. (Doc 69-2, Ex. 3.) After reviewing the facts of this
case, Dr. Wickliffe opined that
[i]t is my opinion to a reasonable degree of medical
certainty that Mr. Loflin died of the complication of his
congestive heart failure and underlying cardiomyopathy. His
death was related to the marked delay in initiation of
appropriate treatment for his congestive heart failure.
Although his prognosis at any stage of management of his
underlying cardiomyopathy would have been poor, earlier
treatment improves the chances of survival, . . . It is my
opinion that if proper diagnosis and management had been
initiated at any point during the course of his steadily
deteriorating condition prior to March 26th, his chances of
survival and long term and short term out comes would have
been improved. . . . [Also, ] it is my additional opinion
that Matthew Loflin received inadequate medical care while
incarcerated at the Chatham County Detention Center. With
adequate treatment Mathew Loflin could have had a significant
remaining life expectancy ....
(Doc. 69-2, Ex. 1.)
Defendants seek to limit the use of Plaintiffs' expert.
(Doc. 69.) Dr. Wickliffe admittedly has no experience working
in the correctional setting or working as a regional health
director. (Doc. 69-2, Ex. 2 at 6, 15.) As a result,
Defendants contend that Dr. Wickliffe lacks the
qualifications to offer expert testimony regarding the
standard of care specifically applicable to Defendant Kennedy
as a regional director or generally applicable to any other
health provider at the CCDC. After careful review, the Court
determining whether to limit Dr. Wickliffe's testimony,
this Court must consider the admissibility of his testimony
in light of Federal Rule of Evidence 702. Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589
(1993). Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence 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 methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the
principles and methods to the facts of the case.
Although the Court must use the guidelines provided in Rule
702 to determine whether Dr. Wickliffe can offer an opinion
that is both reliable and relevant, "[t]he inguiry
envisioned by Rule 702 is  a flexible one."
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594.
Court's view, Dr. Wickliffe is qualified under Rule 702
to testify not only as to Lof lin's medical condition,
but also to the standard of care that he should have been
provided while at the CCDC. As a starting point, Dr.
Wickliffe has extensive experience in the field of
cardiology. (Doc. 69-2, Ex. 3.) While Dr. Wickliffe has no
experience working in the correctional field, this fact is
immaterial. Defendants have offered no authority that the
standard of care is different in the correctional setting.
While Defendants are correct that Dr.Wickliffe has no
experience as a regional health director or as a provider
that has to work within certain limitations created by the
correctional setting, Defendants' challenges to Dr.
Wickliffe's testimony are more appropriately directed at
the weight that should be given to his testimony, rather than
its admissibility. Because the Court finds no reason to limit
Dr. Wickliffe's testimony, Defendants' motion (Doc.
69) is DENIED.