Argued April 9, 2015.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division. No. 3:11-cv-81 -- Richard L. Young, Chief Judge.
For Kent Higgins, JENNIFER HIGGINS, individually and as Parents and Natural Guardians, and next Friend on behalf of AH and NH, Minors, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Roy C. Dripps, Attorney, Michael Todd Blotevogel, Attorney, Armbruster, Dripps, Winterscheidt & Blotevogel, LLC, Alton, IL.
For Koch Development Corporation, Plaintiff - Appellant: Crystal G. Rowe, Attorney, Kightlinger & Gray Llp, New Albany, IN; Brent R. Weil, Attorney, Kightlinger & Gray Llp, Evansville, IN.
Before FLAUM, RIPPLE, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.
Flaum, Circuit Judge.
After the district court disqualified plaintiff Kent Higgins's causation expert--enlisted to prove that Higgins developed asthma and reactive airways dysfunction syndrome as a consequence of inhaling chlorine gas at an amusement park--he argued that he did not need an expert to prove negligence at all. Alternatively, Higgins argued that his treating physician could serve as such an expert. The district court disagreed, considering the causation issue too complex for an unassisted jury, and deeming Higgins's treating physician's qualifications and methodology too uncertain to permit her to opine on such matters. Consequently, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. We affirm.
On June 20, 2009, Kent and Jennifer Higgins, along with their two children, visited Santa Claus, Indiana's Holiday World & Splashin' Safari amusement park (" Holiday World," for ease of reference)--owned and operated by defendant Koch Development Corporation. During their stay, the filter pump connected to the park's lazy river (dubbed the " Bahari River" ) malfunctioned due to a tripped circuit breaker. As the park's staff worked to fix the problem, pool chemicals--bleach and hydrochloric acid--accumulated in the pump. When the pump finally restarted, these chemicals discharged into the water and a cloud of chlorine gas released into the air.
At that moment, the Higginses were not near the Bahari River. But their niece apparently was--and soon thereafter, the Higginses received a cell phone call alerting them that she was " in trouble," prompting them to head in that direction. When they arrived, Kent Higgins (" Higgins" ) inhaled an unspecified amount of chemical fumes that lingered in the air. Complaining of chest tightness, burning eyes, shortness of breath, and nausea, Higgins visited the emergency room later that day, where he was diagnosed with " ...