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Campbell v. CSX Transportation

May 21, 2009

WILLIAM D. CAMPBELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This case is before the court for ruling on various pending motions filed by Defendant, CSX Transportation, Inc. Plaintiff, William D. Campbell, has not filed a response to the motions. This court has carefully considered Defendant's arguments and the documents filed. Following this careful and thorough consideration, this court rules as follows: (1) Defendant's Motion to Bar Dr. Schoedinger and Dr. Dearnbarger from Giving Expert Causation Opinions (#29) is GRANTED; and (2) Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment for Lack of Causation Evidence (#26) is GRANTED. Based upon these rulings, Defendant's remaining pending motions (#28, #31, #33) are MOOT.

FACTS*fn1

Plaintiff was hired by Defendant on April 10, 1977. Plaintiff's employment with Defendant was terminated in August 2006 after his second positive test for cocaine. Plaintiff testified at his deposition that his termination did not have anything to do with any physical problems he was having at that time. At the time of his termination, he did not have any work restrictions. Plaintiff testified that he is now claiming that he injured his neck and lower back during his employment with Defendant.

Plaintiff saw Dr. George Schoedinger for the first time on October 30, 2006. Plaintiff testified that Dr. Schoedinger is the only doctor he has seen for his problems with his neck and back. Dr. Schoedinger testified that Plaintiff reported that he had been employed as a railroad conductor until June 2006. Dr. Schoedinger performed surgery on Plaintiff's cervical spine on May 21, 2008, and performed surgery on his lumbar spine on October 29, 2008. Dr. Schoedinger testified that the repetitive nature of the sorts of activities that Plaintiff engaged in during his employment as a railroad conductor "imposes stresses on the back and on the neck and knees and hips and ankles, elbows and shoulders to an extent greater than . . . somebody who is engaged in sedentary work." Dr. Schoedinger testified that it was his opinion that "at least a portion [of Plaintiff's] condition of ill-being based upon his history was related to his longstanding exposure to repetitive stresses imposed on his spine."

Dr. Schoedinger testified, however, that Plaintiff did not tell him about any particular work activities that he associated with his neck or back. Dr. Schoedinger also testified that he did not conduct an inquiry regarding the actual work Plaintiff performed during his employment or observe the location where Plaintiff worked. Dr. Schoedinger stated that he made an assumption about Plaintiff's work activities "by reasons of his report of being a conductor and my knowledge of what those people do." Dr. Schoedinger further testified that, in formulating his opinion, he did not conduct any testing to determine the forces on the spine or neck from activities associated with employment as a railroad conductor nor was he aware of any literature regarding this subject. Dr. Schoedinger testified that he did not ever ask Plaintiff about any activities that he engaged in throughout his life outside of his railroad work.

Dr. Kurt Dearnbarger testified that he is Plaintiff's family doctor. Dr. Dearnbarger testified that his opinion was that the cause of Plaintiff's back and neck pain was "multifactorial," including "chronic lifting and hard work." Dr. Dearnbarger testified that he knew Plaintiff had worked as a conductor but did not know exactly what his main functions were or what his duties were. Dr. Dearnbarger testified that he does not know how long Plaintiff worked for the railroad, has never read any studies or literature on the job duties of railroad conductors, did not visit any of Plaintiff's job sites and never observed Plaintiff perform any of his job duties. Dr. Dearnbarger testified that he is not aware of any studies that measure the stress that railroad work places in the body. He also testified that he has not personally performed any measurements on the levels of stress that railroad work causes on the body.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 2, 2007, Plaintiff filed his Complaint (#2) against Defendant in the Southern District of Illinois. In his one-count Complaint, Plaintiff sought damages pursuant to the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq. Plaintiff alleged that he suffered injuries to his back and neck during his employment with Defendant. He alleged that his responsibilities as a conductor included "walking on the tracks[,] riding on the trains and other responsibilities, including walking on rough, uneven surfaces and locations and riding on rough equipment." Plaintiff alleged that his injuries "initially onset in approximately January 2006 and were diagnosed subsequently thereto." Plaintiff alleged that Defendant did not provide him with a reasonably safe workplace, reasonably safe equipment and reasonably sufficient help.

On February 14, 2008, this case was transferred to this court. On March 25, 2008, a Discovery Order (#24) was entered. The Discovery Order provided that the deadline for Plaintiff to disclose experts and provide expert reports was October 31, 2008. In his Answers to Defendant's First Interrogatories, Plaintiff stated that he "may call any of his treating doctors as non-retained expert witnesses, including Dr. Dearnbarger and Dr. Schoedinger." Plaintiff stated that Dr. Schoedinger will testify regarding "medical issues & permanency, pain, causation and related medical testimony concerning his care and treatment," and Dr. Dearnbarger will testify regarding "general medical issues concerning his care and treatment." Plaintiff has not disclosed any other expert witnesses and the deadline for doing so has passed. This case has been scheduled for a final pretrial conference on July 30, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. and a jury trial on August 24, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.

On March 27, 2009, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment for Lack of Causation Evidence (#26) and a Memorandum of Law in Support (#27), with attached documentation. Defendant also filed a Motion to Bar Dr. Schoedinger and Dr. Dearnbarger from Giving Expert Causation Opinions (#29) and a Memorandum of Law in Support (#30), with attached exhibits. In addition, Defendant filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Ballast Claims (#31) and a Memorandum of Law in Support (#32), with attached exhibits. Defendant also filed Motions requesting a hearing on the Motions for Summary Judgment (#28, #33).

Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion to Bar (#29) was due on April 13, 2009. Plaintiff's Responses to Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment were due on April 20, 2009. On April 27, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Defendant's Motions (#34). Plaintiff requested a 30-day extension to file his Responses to Defendant's pending Motions. On April 27, 2009, this court entered a text order denying Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time. This court stated that Plaintiff's Motion for an extension of time to respond to the pending motions was filed long after the responses were due and must be denied.

ANALYSIS

I. MOTION ...


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