There’s been another victory for plaintiffs and the admissibility of diffusion tensor imaging to confirm a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania rejected a Daubert motion filed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. In this case, plaintiff was injured when an employee of defendant Goodyear threw a large tire over a railing from the second floor, striking the plaintiff in the back of his head and neck. Plaintiff was evaluated by Randall Benson, M.D., an expert in behavioral neurology and functional neuroimaging. Dr. Benson undertook an exhaustive review of the evidence including deposition testimony, school records, medical records, radiologic records, and advanced brain imaging records. In addition, he conducted a three-hour, in-person examination which involved various forms of testing, questioning, and a blind medical evaluation.
Goodyear took issue with Dr. Benson’s reliance of diffusion tensor imaging, an advanced neuro-imaging technique to measure damage to the the brain’s white matter tracts, arguing that it had not been accepted for use in the District and should not be presented to a jury. The defendant also requested, should the court deny its application, for a Daubert hearing.
In rejecting Goodyear’s motion, the court noted, “Goodyear appears to have cherry-picked a handful of cases purporting to indicate that diffusion tensor imaging is not an accepted method of evaluation, which appear to be outliers in the vast array of authority cited by [plaintiff] to the contrary.” The court also rejected defendant’s request for a Daubert hearing, stating, “based on the court’s review of Benson’s report and the parties’ submissions, which this court finds are sufficient to render determination, a Daubert hearing is not warranted in this case and Goodyear’s request will be denied.”
The case is Amidon v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Civil No. 1:18-CV-02138 (U.S.D.C. M.D. Pa. 9/3/2021).