“Battle of the experts” = fact issue for trial – UPDATED

Cox v. Provident Life involved a dispute about the cause of the plaintiff’s knee problems: “Under the policies, Cox is entitled to receive disability benefits for life if, and only if, his disability resulted from injury rather sickness.” The record showed that:

Shelton, the treating physician, gave deposition testimony that, ‘to a reasonable degree of medical probability,’ ‘the trauma to [Cox’s] left knee when he fell in the hole on December 26, 2010, caused or contributed to the cause of his disability.’ In the same deposition, Shelton reaffirmed that ‘[e]ven though [Cox] may have had some pre-existing arthritis or chondromalacia,’ the injury ‘contributed to and caused part of [Cox’s] disability.’ The district court never grappled with these unequivocal
statements, instead embracing contrary evidence presented by Provident suggesting Cox’s injury did not accelerate his arthritis. That was error. This is a classic ‘battle of the experts,’ the winner of which must be decided by a jury.

No. 16-60831 (revised Jan. 2, 2018).

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