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Panel disagrees in admitting expert testimony

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that a trial court didn't err in allowing into evidence an injured woman's testimony about medical tests and the cause of her pain. The judges did disagree about whether the court erred in granting the woman's motion to strike portions of the defendant's expert medical witness's testimony.

Amanda Cave was injured in a car accident when Eric Sibbing's car slammed into the back of hers as she slowed while driving. At the time of the accident, she told responders she didn't need an ambulance, but as the days went on the pain in her foot and back became worse so she sought medical treatment. She eventually visited a chiropractor and underwent a nerve conduction study.

Cave filed her negligence suit against Sibbing, who admitted fault for the crash. The trial court granted her motion to strike portions of the testimony of Sibbing's expert medical witness, Dr. Paul Kern, who said the nerve conduction study and chiropractic care were unnecessary. The jury awarded her $71,675 for damages.

On appeal in Eric P. Sibbing v. Amanda N. Cave, No. 49A02-0802-CV-165, Sibbing challenged the decision by the trial court to admit certain testimony by Cave's witnesses and to exclude portions of Kern's testimony.

The judges, citing Coffey v. Coffey, 649 N.E.2d 1074, 1078 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995), ruled the trial court didn't appear to err in admitting Cave's testimony about what her doctor had told her about diagnostic tests and the cause of her pain. Most of the information to which Cave testified was presented to the jury through other exhibits or witnesses, wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

Chief Judge John Baker dissented from Judges Mathias and Elaine Brown's ruling that the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in granting Cave's motion to strike Kern's testimony. In his dissent, the chief judge wrote he disagreed with the majority's view that the holding in Whitaker v. Kruse, 495 N.E.2d 233 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986), precludes a defendant from calling an expert witness to render an opinion as to whether all of a plaintiff's treatments were reasonable or necessary under the circumstances.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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