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Plaintiff’s B Reader Expert Held Qualified to Testify as to Causation of Plaintiff’s Asbestosis


Plaintiff’s B Reader Expert Held Qualified to Testify as to Causation of Plaintiff’s Asbestosis

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, August 18, 2015

In this federal court case, the defendants moved to exclude the expert testimony of Dr. Matthew Vuskovich under Daubert, arguing that he was not qualified to render an expert opinion, his opinions were based on insufficient information, and his theories of exposure were related to development of disease are unreliable.

The court denied the motion and stated: “Having considered his full range of practical experience as well as his academic and technical training, the Court finds Dr. Vuskovich qualified to render an expert opinion as to Plaintiff’s diagnosis and causation. His qualifications are within the same technical area as the subject matter of his testimony. The fact that Dr. Vuskovich is not a radiologist or pulmonologist does not render him disqualified.” In its decision, the court acknowledged that Illinois law applies the “frequency, regularity and proximity rule” to establish causation and held: “‘Where there is competent evidence that one or a de minimis number of asbestos fibers can cause injury, a jury may conclude the fibers were a substantial factor in causing a plaintiff’s injury.’ Thus, even if Dr. Vuskovich relies on an ‘every exposure’ theory, such reliance would not render his testimony inadmissible.”

Regarding the sufficiency of the information upon which Dr. Vuskovich relied, the court held: “Dr. Vuskovich examined Plaintiff and conducted an interview. Dr. Vuskovich admits in his report that he is not Plaintiff’s treating physician and that it ‘is not the usual course of an examining physician to take steps to personally investigate the veracity the history given by the patient.’ However, the report includes a summary of Plaintiff’s occupational and military history which reveals asbestos exposure and an analysis of Plaintiff’s chest x-ray. Considering the scope of Dr. Vuskovich’s anticipated testimony, the Court finds the information on which his report and opinions are based sufficient.”

Read the full decision here.

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