Huntoon v. TCI Cablevision of Colorado

In Huntoon v. TCI Cablevision of Colorado (1998) 969 P.2d 681, the court explored the question whether "neuropsychologists lack the qualifications to opine on the physical cause of organic brain injury as a matter of law." (Id. at p. 689.) The court observed that "the idea that neuropsychologists, as a group, lack the competence necessary to testify on the causation of organic brain injury is the minority view. . . . The rationale for such a prohibition is the idea that psychologists are not medical doctors trained in the physiological aspects of the human body." (Id. at p. 690.) The court cited cases from Arizona, Florida, and Georgia that supported a "blanket exclusion of testimony on causal relationships by psychology professionals" on that basis and noted that the rulings in two of those cases had been superseded by statute. (Id. at p. 689, 690, citing Bilbrey v. Industrial Comm'n (1976) 27 Ariz.App. 473 superseded by statute; Executive Car & Truck Leasing, Inc. v. DeSerio (Fla.App.1985) 468 So.2d 1027, 1029-30; and Chandler Exterminators, Inc. v. Morris (1992) 262 Ga. 257 superseded by statute.) The court observed that "some courts have restricted such testimony on the basis that to do otherwise would allow psychologists to invade the realm reserved for the practice of medicine," citing a case from North Carolina. (Huntoon, at p. 690, citing Martin v. Benson (1997) 125 N.C.App. 330.) The court concluded that "the majority of jurisdictions, however, have found that neuropsychologists may, with the proper foundation, opine on the physical cause of organic brain injury," citing cases from Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and Nebraska. (Huntoon, at p. 690, citing Valiulis v. Scheffels (1989) 191 Ill.App.3d 775 multiple sclerosis; Landers v. Chrysler Corp. (Mo.Ct.App.1998) 963 S.W.2d 275, 280 workers' compensation case, overruled on other grounds as stated in Hampton v. Big Boy Steel Erection (2003) 121 S.W.3d 220, 223; Adamson v. Chiovaro (N.J.Super.App.Div.1998) 308 N.J.Super. 70; and Sanchez v. Derby (1989) 230 Neb. 782.) The Colorado Supreme court adopted the majority view, stating, "We can find no compelling reason for the law to single out a particular class of professionals and categorically bar them from expressing opinions on matters that may well be within their expertise." (Huntoon, at p. 690)