Neurology Expert Witness Testimony Allowed By MT Sup Ct

In McClue v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Ilinois, the Supreme Court of Montana reversed the District Court’s ruling that Dr. John Sabow was not qualified to present expert witness testimony. The neurology expert was excluded from testifying regarding the injuries suffered by Carol J. McClue following a 2009 car accident. The plaintiff developed bulbar ALS and died in 2013. Dr. Sabow opined that the car accident caused tissue damage in Carol’s cervical spine and lower brain stem and that this tissue damage was more probably than not the “proximate cause” of Carol’s ALS.

McClue sought to introduce Dr. Sabow as an expert witness at trial to testify that the auto accident caused Carol’s ALS. Dr. Sabow is a board-certified neurologist with over forty years of experience in neurology and particular expertise in ALS. In a report and deposition, he testified that he was “convinced” that the localization of Carol’s ALS symptoms in the same area of her body where she sustained whiplash from the car accident meant that the crash triggered the ALS. But he also testified in his deposition that “there are no neurologists that can designate themselves as experts in determining the causation of ALS” because “we don’t know the exact cause” of neurodegenerative diseases….

We reverse the District Court’s ruling that Dr. Sabow is not qualified to present expert testimony in the trial of this case. We reverse and remand for further proceedings (2015 MT 222).

Neurology experts consult on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the nervous system, including the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. They are called upon to testify regarding disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, and other disorders of the human nervous system.

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