Last week, the Court of Appeals ruled that Dr. Howard Klein, a pediatrician, would be allowed to testify in the case of Michael Davon Christian. In the decision, the Court reiterated its support for the logic behind the 2015 decision in Roy v. Dackman, which held that an adequately experienced physician could testify in a lead poisoning case despite not having experience with treating that particular patient for lead poisoning.
In the decision, penned by Judge Sally D. Adkins for a 6-1 majority, the Court stated that the defense, in this case, did not attack the validity and admissibility of Dr. Klein’s experience, but more so the weight with which his testimony should be considered. Adkins wrote: “As long as an expert’s opinion will assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or determining a fact at issue, he should be permitted to testify.” The Court also noted that the defense’s arguments were “grist for cross-examination.”
This is a huge victory for Attorney Brian S. Brown, who will be able to utilize this expert testimony on behalf of his client, Michael Christian. Christian has filed suit against Stewart Levitas, who owned the property where Michael Christian lived for the first several years of his life from birth. As a toddler, Christian experienced elevated levels of lead in his blood, believed to be a result of the paint used on the walls of these properties. He originally filed this suit back in 2011.
Klein, the medical professional in question, is far from a stranger to lead poisoning cases, having treated the condition in children for more than 20 years. Despite the fact that he has testified in cases like this before, the defense contended that he lacked the necessary qualifications and a factual basis to serve as an expert witness because he did not directly examine Christian.
However, Adkins stated in the decision that “an expert need not administer the IQ test to be competent to testify that lead exposure cause a loss in IQ.” The decision also granted him the ability to discuss his findings with a jury, including his opinion based on review of the site and Christian’s medical records that the property owned by Levitas was a factor in the harm done to Christian.
In an interview with The Daily Record, Brown stated “[This decision is] going to help future clients who make these kind of claims, not just in lead paint cases but in all kinds of cases, because it really solidifies the standard which an expert must overcome in order to have his or her opinions accepted by the court.”
While this decision does reinstate the testimony of Dr. Klein as evidence, it doesn’t mean the testimony will be entered just yet. Levitas and his legal team have chosen to appeal this decision. This case is far from over, but this decision could represent a substantial victory and monumental step forward for both Attorney Brown as his client, who are seeking compensation for damage done through no fault of his own.
If you have experienced significant health consequences due to toxic exposure, including exposure to lead paint or any other harmful chemical substance, Brown & Barron, LLC can help! We have served as the lead counsel for more than 100 full jury injury trials, and we utilize this experience to fight for each of our clients and their best interests. We firmly believe that each of our clients deserves the best possible representation when they have been injured, and we are not afraid to stand up and take their case as far as we need to in order to obtain the best possible outcome to their case. We handle the hard part when it comes to your case so you can focus on what matters most: your recovery.For a free consultation to discuss your injury claim, call Brown & Barron, LLC today by dialing (410) 698-1717.