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Dickman v. Alvarado Hospital Medical Center Inc.'s Geo Group

November 14, 2006

MICHAEL C. DICKMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALVARADO HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER INC.'S GEO GROUP, JUAN ASUNCION, JR., M.D., JARME CONDELL'S ALVARADO HOSPITAL MEDICAL FOR CENTER, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Roger T. Benitez United States District Judge

ORDER:

(1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE PRECLUDING TESTIMONY OF DR. ALFRED J. KOONIN [Doc. Nos. 340 and 346];

(2) GRANTING DEFENDANT MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [Doc. No. 351];

(3) GRANTING DEFENDANTS MOTION RECONSIDERATION OF COURT'S DENIAL OF THEIR MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [Doc. No. 309]; AND

(4) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION WITH HIS EXPERT [Doc. No. 359]

Plaintiff Michael C. Dickman ("Dickman"), a prisoner, has filed a pro se First Amended Complaint alleging that, when incarcerated in the Western Regional Detention Facility in or about late 2000 and 2001, he received negligent medical care and Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. According to Dickman, he suffered from a urinary tract infection which gradually worsened, and was ignored and/or not properly treated by the Defendants. Dickman has designated Dr. Alfred J. Koonin ("Koonin") as his expert witness.

Koonin has never treated Dickman for his alleged injuries. Dickman met Koonin in prison. Koonin is serving a 181 month sentence in federal prison for several convictions, including conspiracy to commit murder for hire, and aiding and abetting false declarations before a grand jury.*fn1 Before his convictions, Koonin was a surgeon, mainly performing plastic surgery or sex change operations. Koonin, however, has not practiced general medicine since 1990, and the last time he worked as full-time emergency room physician was in the late 1960's. Koonin's license to practice was also revoked in 1991 for, to say the least, grossly negligent treatment of several patients.*fn2 Koonin has also had about twenty six malpractice actions filed against him.

Additionally, Koonin has little, if any, experience about the subject of urology--the central issue in this case. Koonin has admittedly never published any articles relating to the subject of urology, and his curriculum vitae makes no reference to urological experience. The extent of his experience in the subject of urology consists of residency in the early 1970's. Koonin likewise has no specialized training in treating patients with urinary tract infections, has not done any research in urinary tract infection, or treated any patients with urinary tract infections.

Koonin's Rule 26 report and deposition testimony are also contradictory. For example, Koonin's Rule 26 report indicates that "[Dickman] began experiencing lower abdominal pain and other symptoms of a possible urinary-tract infection (UTI) such as dysuria." However, in his deposition, Koonin testified that he did not see any complaints of dysuria. In his deposition, Koonin also identifies and acknowledges various substantive errors in his Rule 26 report. Koonin testified that there was normal urinalysis performed on Dickman which suggested no infection in December 2000, and that his Rule 26 report was incorrect in that regard. Later in his deposition, Koonin again acknowledged a substantive error in his Rule 26 report when he testified that the psychiatrist did not actually exclude the relationship between Dickman's symptoms and his medication as a possible cause. Also, in his Rule 26 report, Koonin indicated that Gentamicin was an appropriate antibiotic to treat Dickman's infection, but, in his deposition, testified that prescribing Gentamicin would probably have been "contraindicated."

Similarly, Koonin has provided inconsistent testimonies regarding the Hospital's conduct. At the first session of his deposition, Koonin testified that he had no criticism of the care the Hospital provided Dickman. At the second session of his deposition, Koonin recanted his original testimony, claiming he was "confused", despite the fact that the questions put forth to him were straight forward and unambiguous.

Against this backdrop, Defendants*fn3 move in limine to preclude Koonin from testifying.*fn4 Defendant Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, Inc.("Hospital") also moves for summary judgment, while Defendants Geo Group, Juan Asuncion, Jr., M.D., Jarme Condell move for reconsideration of the Court's Order denying their previous motion for summary judgment. Lastly, Dickman moves ex parte for an Order "allowing written communication" with Koonin within the prison.

For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motions are GRANTED. Koonin is precluded from testifying at trial. Defendants Hospital, Geo Group, Juan Asuncion, Jr., M.D., Jarme Condell are entitled to judgment, and dismissed from the action. Dickman's ex parte motion is DENIED.*fn5

DISCUSSION

I. Defendants' Motion to Exclude ...


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