Podiatry Expert Witness' Opinions as to the Defendant's Conduct Admitted

Podiatry Expert Witness’ Opinions as to the Defendant’s Conduct Admitted

Plaintiff Eric L. Hamilton, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Defendants Dr. Mohammed Siddiqui, Dr. Stephen Ritz, Mary Jo Zimmer, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford Defendants”), claiming his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. Specifically, Hamilton alleged that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs and retaliated against him. 

The Wexford Defendants retained Robert M. Joseph as an expert witness. Joseph presented two opinions in his expert report: (1) there was no delay in the diagnosis of a bone infection in Mr. Hamilton’s second right toe by Dr. Siddiqui, and (2) there was no significant deviation in the standard of care delivered by Dr. Siddiqui in the treatment of Mr. Hamilton’s second toe bone infection that harmed Mr. Hamilton. Plaintiff did not challenge Joseph’s qualifications to serve as an expert. Rather, he sought to limit his opinions as to Dr. Siddiqui because they were irrelevant as to any other Defendant, exclude his second opinion as irrelevant to Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference claim, and exclude his first opinion as irrelevant, unreliable and more prejudicial than probative.

Podiatry Expert Witness

Robert M. Joseph is a double board certified in Foot as well as Reconstructive Rearfoot /Ankle Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons since 2012 and has been in clinical practice since 2006. He is an Associate Professor and former Department Chairman of the Department of Podiatric Medicine and Radiology at the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Health Sciences in North Chicago, Illinois. 

He has contributed toward establishing the standards of podiatric medical education and certification for the profession through his activity with the Council of Podiatric Medical Education, the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and the Council of Journal Management for the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

Discussion by the Court

First, Hamilton sought to limit Joseph’s opinions as to the conduct of Dr. Siddiqui because Joseph admitted that he had not addressed the conduct of any other Defendant. It appeared, however, that the Plaintiff was actually requesting the Court to limit testimony by Joseph that merely provided context for his opinions regarding Dr. Siddiqui’s conduct. Joseph did not opine on the conduct of any other Defendants in his report or deposition testimony. The Court found no basis to preemptively limit or narrow Joseph’s testimony in this regard.

The Court should exclude Joseph’s second opinion regarding post-operative care

Hamilton contended that Joseph’s second opinion related solely to post-operative care and should be excluded as to Plaintiff’s claims against Dr. Siddiqui. Plaintiff asserted a deliberate indifference claim for alleged inadequate treatment of his right foot from April 2018 until June 15, 2018. Joseph’s second opinion was that Dr. Siddiqui did not deviate from the standard of care in treating Hamilton’s right second toe bone infection. Specifically, Joseph opined that “Dr. Siddiqui promptly identified the possibility of gangrene and infection of Mr. Hamilton’s second toe.” While it appeared that Joseph’s second opinion, as articulated in his report, may have addressed post-operative care, which was irrelevant to Plaintiff’s claim, it was unclear. Thus, the Court refused to exclude the opinion at this juncture but stated that it would require an offer of proof at trial prior to Joseph’s testimony.

The Court should exclude Joseph’s first opinion regarding Dr. Siddiqui’s treatment for bone infection

Hamilton also argued that Joseph’s first opinion was irrelevant, unreliable, and should be excluded as being more prejudicial than probative. The Court disagreed since Joseph’s first opinion about Dr. Siddiqui’s diagnosis and referral out to a hospital for a bone infection laid out historical and factual rationale as to Dr. Siddiqui’s evaluation and treatment of Hamilton. It concluded that “Dr. Siddiqui’s off-site transfer of Mr. Hamilton to SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale on 6/15/18 was appropriate and expeditious hence there was no delay in the diagnosis or treatment of Mr. Hamilton’s second toe infection on 6/15/18.” It also found that Joseph’s opinion was relevant to Hamilton’s claims, and his opinion and testimony would assist the jury with its analysis of those claims.

Hamilton was free to address the weight and credibility the Court should afford to Dr. Joseph’s opinions via cross-examination, contrary evidence and experts, limiting instructions, and argument to the jury. There was no basis for this Court to specifically exclude Dr. Joseph’s opinions as to the other Defendants.

The Court rejected Hamilton’s conclusory statement that the Court should exclude Dr. Joseph’s testimony under Rule 403 based on its ability to confuse and mislead the jury concerning an issue immaterial to the actual claims in this case. The Court held that the statement lacked the support of any specific reference.


The Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion to Exclude the Expert Testimony of Robert M. Joseph under Rules 403 and 702.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Scope of Expert Testimony: The Court addressed the scope of expert testimony, noting that the expert’s opinions should be relevant to assess the claims made against the Defendant in question.
  2. Exclusion of Opinions: The Court may exclude certain expert opinions if they are irrelevant, unreliable, or more prejudicial than probative. However, such exclusion is not automatic and depends on the specific circumstances of the case.

Case Details:

Case Caption: Hamilton V. Siddiqui Et Al
Docket Number:3:19cv1347
Court:United States District Court, Illinois Southern
Order Date:March 31, 2024


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *