Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 08-cv-540-Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kanne, Circuit Judge.
Before KANNE, WILLIAMS, and HAMILTON,Circuit Judges.
Craig Meyers, a pipe fitter and sheet metal worker, brought an occupational injury lawsuit against his employer, Amtrak, under the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA"). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Amtrak, citing several distinct grounds for its ruling. Meyers v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., 648 F. Supp. 2d 1032 (N.D. Ill. 2009).
We address only the district court's grant of summary judgment on the ground that Meyers failed to provide any evidence to establish the required causation element of his FELA action. We find that because Meyers failed to comply with Rule 26(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), the reports and testimony of his proffered causation experts were properly barred by the district court. Consequently, Meyers failed to raise genuine issues of material fact with respect to the causation element of his FELA claim. His claim must therefore fail.
Although our disposition of this appeal turns on procedural issues rather than background facts, we believe a summary of the circumstances that gave rise to the lawsuit is needed in order to provide context to our ruling today.
As a pipe fitter, Meyers was responsible for a variety of repair work on railroad cars, which at times required heavy lifting, carrying, reaching, pulling, twisting, and other repetitive motions. His work included the repair of vacuum pumps, toilet assemblies, drain valves, backflow preventers, and door motors. The equipment Meyers used for such projects included ratchets, wrenches, sockets, pliers, band saws, and sledge hammers. Some of Meyers's work necessitated that he perform repairs in confined areas such as equipment rooms, a pit area under the railroad cars, and railroad car bathrooms. Meyers claimed that these assignments were particularly difficult for him, apparently in part because of his size-from the 1990s until he underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2005, Meyers weighed 350 pounds on average.
In early 2004, Meyers met with his primary care physician, Dr. Greg Daly, at which time he reported that he was experiencing numbness and tingling in his fingers. A magnetic resonance imaging test ("MRI") revealed that Meyers had spondylosis in the cervical spine, spinal stenosis, mild disc protrusion, and degenerative joint disease in the left shoulder. In addition, Dr. Daly referred Meyers to Dr. Gail Rosseau, a neurosurgeon, for treatment of suspected carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dr. Rosseau diagnosed Meyers with cervical spondylosis and possible carpal tunnel syndrome. Following an electromyogram ("EMG"), Dr. Rosseau determined that Meyers's suspected carpal tunnel syndrome might be due to alcohol abuse. In June 2004, Dr. Rosseau performed left carpal tunnel release surgery on Meyers.
That same year, Meyers answered a flyer from an attorney urging railroad workers to respond if they have experienced joint or neck pain. Meyers was subsequently referred by that attorney to Dr. Howard Freedburg. Dr. Freedburg diagnosed Meyers with carpal tunnel syndrome, bilateral shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis, low back pain, and degenerative joint disease in the knees.
In August 2006, Meyers met with Dr. Pietro Tonino, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Tonino performed right shoulder surgery on Meyers in September 2007. In December 2008, Dr. Rosseau performed back surgery on Meyers.
Meyers sued Amtrak on March 30, 2007, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, under the FELA, 45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq. Although the state court dismissed the suit for improper venue, Meyers was provided with six months to file a new action. Meyers refiled in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on January 25, 2008.
Meyers claimed that he had been exposed to excessive and harmful cumulative trauma since he began working at Amtrak in 1978. He complained that Amtrak's job requirements forced him to work in awkward positions and tight spaces, which in combination with inadequate equipment and repetitive motions, caused him to suffer injuries to his neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. Meyers alleged that his injuries were the result of Amtrak's failure to use ordinary care and caution toward him. Meyers claimed that despite his repeated complaints, Amtrak failed to meet standards for adequate work safety ergonomic programs and the company neglected to provide a reasonably safe place for him ...