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Florida First DCA affirms Daubert exclusion of expert causation testimony based on expert’s lack of experience with specific medical condition under review

On June 3, 2021, in Huggins v. Siegel, No. 1D19-3987, the Florida First DCA ruled that a Daubert motion challenging proposed expert witness testimony was timely even though it was not filed until approximately 230 days after the deposition of the expert. The First DCA concluded that because the motion was filed prior to the court-imposed deadline for filing such motions the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the motion to be heard. The First DCA also concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the expert’s testimony, noting that the expert, a board-certified physician in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, obstetrics and gynecology who testified as a causation expert regarding the theory that mold in plaintiff’s rental home caused their child’s renal agenesis and brain damage, was an infertility specialist who had never been involved in a case involving the disappearance of a kidney in an unborn child, or cases where a kidney was observed but later disappeared before birth. In addition, the Court noted that the expert admitted his opinion assumed that mold was present in the home during the plaintiff’s pregnancy, but the first mold inspection did not occur until December 2017, almost two years after the child was born. Under these circumstances, the Court concluded that the assumption was “a classic example of the common fallacy of assuming causality from temporal sequence,” quoting from Perez v. Bell S. Telecommunications, Inc., 138 So. 3d 492, 499 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014).

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