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Alarid v. Biomet, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 4, 2016

ALFONSO A. ALARID, Plaintiff,
v.
BIOMET, INC., BIOMET ORTHOPEDICS, LLC, BIOMET MANUFACTURING, LLC, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO EXCLUDE TESTIMONY OF DEFENDANT’S [sic] EXPERT DR. EDWARD SEADE

ROBERT E. BLACKBURN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

The matter before me is Plaintiff’s Motion To Exclude Testimony of Defendant’s [sic] Expert Dr. Edward Seade [#68], [1] filed October 7, 2015. I deny the motion.

I. JURISDICTION

I have jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (diversity of citizenship).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which governs the admissibility of expert witness testimony, provides that

[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.

Fed. R. Evid. 702. As interpreted by the Supreme Court, Rule 702 requires that an expert’s testimony be both reliable, in that the witness is qualified to testify regarding the subject, and relevant, in that it will assist the trier in determining a fact in issue. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589-92, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 2795-96, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993); Truck Insurance Exchange v. MagneTek, Inc., 360 F.3d 1206, 1210 (10th Cir. 2004). An expert may be qualified by “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” to offer an opinion on an issue relevant to the case. Fed.R.Evid. 702(a). See also 103 Investors I, L.P. v. Square D Co., 470 F.3d 985, 990 (10th Cir. 2006). An expert opinion is reliable when it is based on sufficient facts or data, employs a methodology generally deemed reliable in the expert’s field, and properly applies such methods to the facts of the case. See Fed. R. Evid. 702(b), (c), & (d); United States v. Crabbe, 556 F.Supp.2d 1217, 1222-23 (D. Colo. 2008).

Guided by these principles, the trial court has broad discretion in determining whether expert testimony is sufficiently reliable and relevant to be admissible. Truck Insurance Exchange, 360 F.3d at 1210; Smith v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., 214 F.3d 1235, 1243 (10th Cir. 2000). The overarching purpose of the court’s inquiry is “to make certain that the expert . . . employs in the courtroom the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field.” Goebel v. Denver and Rio Grand Western Railroad Co., 346 F.3d 987, 992 (10th Cir. 2003) (quoting Kumho Tire, 119 S.Ct. at 1176). Generally, “rejection of expert testimony is the exception rather than the rule.” United States v. Nacchio, 519 F.3d 1140, 1154 (10th Cir. 2008), vacated in part on rehearing en banc, 555 F.3d 1234 (10th Cir. 2009). See also Fed. R. EVID. 702 (2000 Advisory Comm. Notes). “Vigorous cross-examination, presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on the burden of proof are the traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but admissible evidence.” Daubert, 113 S.Ct. at 2798.

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff in this case alleges claims for strict products liability and negligence related to alleged defects in the Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder, a prosthetic device designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold by defendants. Plaintiff had Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder devices implanted in both shoulders in 2009 and 2010. The devices later fractured, necessitating their removal and replacement.

Defendants have designated Dr. Edward Seade, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder orthopedics, as an expert to testify at trial. Dr. Seade’s expert report details four primary opinions:

(1) That the Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder device is a “last resort device” (Plf. Motion App., Exh. 1 at 3-5);
(2) That the benefits of the Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder device outweigh its inherent ...

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