Judge okays officers as expert witnesses in UTMB suit

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Dec 12, 2011


GALVESTON - A local state district judge turned down a request from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to strike and exclude plaintiffs' expert testimony in a wrongful termination lawsuit against it.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor signed the order in favor of former UTMB police officers Tim Scheurer and Ivory Lartigue on Nov. 9. UTMB demanded in October that the officers comply with the docket and discovery control order and provide information.

Scheurer and Lartigue are suing the medical branch for firing them when they refused to perform a "warrantless arrest."

According to court papers filed March 31, UTMB ordered the plaintiffs on Oct. 18, 2010, to apprehend a potential patient with no justification or probable cause.

The unnamed man went to the defendant's facilities for treatment, but was reportedly targeted for an emergency apprehension detention and removal from the premises.

The plaintiffs conducted an investigation in accordance to their duties as officers and learned that the person did not present a threat to others or themselves, the original petition says.

Despite explaining to their immediate supervisor that to perform an arrest was unconstitutional, the officers were removed from the force.

UTMB asserts Scheurer and Lartigue's attempts to designate themselves as expert witnesses to establish their whistleblower claims are improper since "the presiding trial judge is the best individual to explain the law to the jury."

The hospital also contends the plaintiffs failed to provide expert curriculum vitae, resumes or expert reports.

"Based on their failure to meet any of these elements to be able to offer expert testimony, the plaintiffs' expert designations and testimony must be stricken," the motion states.

The defendant says it is entitled to the complainants' report before designating its own expert witnesses.

Case No. 11-cv-548

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