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Artunduaga v. University of Chicago Medical Center

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 21, 2016

DR. MARIA ARTUNDUAGA, Plaintiff,
v.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMY J. St. EVE, United States District Court Judge.

         On November 18, 2016, Defendant University of Chicago Medical Center (“UCMC”) moved to bar, or in the alternative limit, the opinion and testimony of Plaintiff Dr. Maria Artunduaga's (“Dr. Artunduaga”) damages expert Dr. Mark R. Killingsworth pursuant to the Federal Rules of Evidence and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993). For the following reasons, the Court, in its discretion, denies Defendant's motion to bar because Plaintiff has met her burden in demonstrating that Dr. Killingsworth's expert opinion testimony satisfies the Daubert standard.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Factual Background

         Dr. Artunduaga was born and raised in Colombia, graduated from a Colombian medical school in 2003, practiced medicine in Colombia for three years, and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School in 2011. In late June 2011, Dr. Artunduaga began working at UCMC as a resident in the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (“PRS”) - a residency that lasts six years. In 2011, Plaintiff signed a one-year residency contract with UCMC that was subject to renewal in the spring of 2012. Dr. David Song served as the program director for UCMC's PRS residency program.

         The two remaining claims in this matter include Plaintiff's national origin discrimination and retaliation claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. In this lawsuit, Dr. Artunduaga claims that beginning in July 2011 she was subjected to discrimination at UCMC based on her national origin. Further, Dr. Artunduaga asserts that she complained about this national origin discrimination to various persons at UCMC. In mid-November 2011, UCMC placed Dr. Artunduaga on probation, and in March 2012, PRS faculty decided not to renew Dr. Artunduaga's one-year residency contract. UCMC denies that it subjected Dr. Artunduaga to any discrimination. In addition, UCMC maintains that Dr. Artunduaga did not complain about the alleged national origin discrimination until after UCMC decided not to renew her contract.

         In 2014, Dr. Artunduaga enrolled in a public health masters (“MPH”) degree program at the University of Washington and graduated in August 2016. After graduation from the MPH program, she entered a dual masters program in Translational Medicine (“MTM”) at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at San Francisco.

         II. Dr. Killingsworth's Qualifications

         Dr. Killingsworth is a labor economist with more than 40 years of experience and has a substantial record as an expert witness in federal and state litigation. See, e.g., Jones v. YMCA, 34 F.Supp.3d 896 (N.D. Ill. 2014); Stagi v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., 391 Fed.Appx. 133, 135 (3d Cir. 2010); Boyd v. Interstate Brands Corp., 256 F.R.D. 340, 353 (E.D.N.Y. 2009); Pippen v. State, 854 N.W.2d 1, 6 (Iowa 2014). Dr. Killingsworth is a professor of economics at Rutgers University and was previously on the faculty of Barnard College and Fisk University. He is the author of Labor Supply and The Economics of Comparable Worth and has also authored numerous publications in the areas of comparable worth, pay equity, employment discrimination, and wage differentials. Also, Dr. Killingsworth has testified in front of United States Congressional Committees and the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. In addition, he has been a consultant to United States District Judge Robert L. Carter, the Canadian Department of Justice, and the United States Departments of Justice and Labor. Dr. Killingsworth graduated from the University of Michigan and received M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

         III. Dr. Killingsworth's Expert Methodology and Opinions

         Dr. Artunduaga retained Dr. Killingsworth to analyze her economic losses arising from UCMC's decision to terminate her residency. In his August 2015 report, Dr. Killingsworth explains the economic rationale and basic methodology that he used, namely, “‘lost earnings' are the difference between (i) the hypothetical earnings at each age that Dr. Artunduaga could have expected to receive had she been able to complete her residency at UCMC and become a plastic surgeon (sometimes called ‘but-for' earnings); and (ii) her actual or expected earnings at each age, given that UCMC terminated her residency and that she has enrolled in an MPH program with a view to entering a career in public health (sometimes called ‘mitigation' earnings).” (R. 174-7, Expert Rep. ¶ 2.) He further articulates that “this methodology entails computing the difference between two different streams of earnings (often called earnings profiles) starting with the decision by UCMC to terminate her residency, and continuing into the future.” (Id.) For the losses in the years prior to 2016 - when Dr. Killingsworth made his calculations - he added interest. (Id. ¶ 3.) He converted the losses sustained in future years to their “present values, ” namely, their values in terms of today's money at an “appropriate rate of interest.” (Id.)

         Dr. Killingsworth determined Dr. Artunduaga's hypothetical “but-for” earnings stream had she completed her residency at UCMC and had a career as a plastic surgeon by:

• assuming a salary that approximates her actual salary as a resident in 2011-12 for her years in residency;
• assuming an annual salary for years as a fellow;
• deriving an estimate of earnings in her first two years as a plastic surgeon by using the midpoint between the median and mean starting salaries for the first year, and a figure below the median compensation for plastic surgeons with three and seven years' experience for the second year; and
• extracting data from the Current Population Survey (“CPS”) to derive an “age earnings profile for Hispanic females employed as physicians or surgeons” in 2013 and projecting annual earnings increases tied to a “general growth in ...

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