United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
SUSAN E. JACKSON Plaintiff,
ASPLUNDH CONSTRUCTION CORP. and ANTHONY MICHAEL ROGERS, Defendant(s).
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD WEBBER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Asplundh
Construction Corporation and Anthony Michael Rogers's
Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Designation of William E.
Hampton as an Expert [ECF No. 43]; Plaintiff Susan E.
Jackson's Motion to Exclude Testimony of Defendants'
Expert Francis Oldham [ECF No. 56]; and Plaintiff's
Motion to Exclude Opinions 1-7 of Defendants' Expert
Stephen Chewning. [ECF No. 58].
action arises from a motor vehicle collision on December 3,
2007, between Defendant Anthony Rogers
(“Rogers”), an employee of Defendant Asplundh
Construction Corporation (“Asplundh”), and
Plaintiff Susan E. Jackson when Rogers was operating a bucket
truck on Highway 8 in Potosi, Missouri. [ECF No. 53 at ¶
1]. Plaintiff initially brought her petition in state court
on March 24, 2015, and Defendants removed to this Court on
May 6, 2015. [ECF Nos. 1, 3].
in their Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Designation of
William Hampton as an Expert argue because Mr. Hampton's
opinion testimony should be excluded because his opinions: do
not contain specialized knowledge to help the trier of fact
understand the evidence, are not based on sufficient facts,
are not the product of reliable methods, do not reliably
apply principles and methods to the facts of this case, and
the probative value of his testimony is outweighed by its
prejudicial effect. [ECF No. 43]. Plaintiff's Motion to
Exclude Testimony of Defendants' Expert Francis Oldham
argues the Court should exclude Mr. Oldham because Mr. Oldham
does not discuss Defendant Rogers's vision issues, the
information used to establish the opinions; specifically the
testing in Long Island, New York was inaccurate, unreliable
and not similar to aid a trier of fact. [ECF No. 56].
Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Opinions 1-7 of
Defendants' Expert Stephen Chewning argues because Mr.
Chewning failed to ensure the testing methods in Long Island
were sufficiently similar to the accident, were cumulative of
Mr. Oldham's opinion, were wrong to rely on Mr.
Oldham's opinions and because his opinion evidence is
more prejudicial than probative the Court should exclude his
testimony. [ECF No. 58].
702 mandates a policy of liberal admissibility, and expert
testimony is permitted if it will assist the trier of fact in
understanding the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.
Fed.R.Evid. 702; Lauzon v. Senco Prods., Inc., 270
F.3d 681, 686 (8th Cir. 2001). To be admitted under Rule 702,
proposed expert testimony must meet three prerequisites: 1)
any evidence based on scientific, technical or other
specialized knowledge must be useful to the fact finder in
determining a fact in issue; 2) the proposed witness must be
qualified to assist the fact finder; and 3) the proposed
evidence must be reliable or trustworthy in an evidentiary
sense. Id.; Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509
U.S. 579, 590-93 (1993).
district court's goal in assessing expert testimony is to
ensure that “all scientific testimony is both reliable
and relevant.” Barrett v. Rhodia, Inc., 606
F.3d 975, 980 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting Marmo v. Tyson
Fresh Meats, Inc., 457 F.3d 748, 757 (8th Cir. 2006)).
The reliability requirement means “the party offering
the expert testimony must show by a preponderance of the
evidence both that the expert is qualified to render the
opinion and that the methodology underlying his conclusions
is scientifically valid, ” while the relevance
requirement demands “the proponent must show that the
expert's reasoning or methodology was applied properly to
the facts at issue.” Id. (internal quotations
and citations omitted).
702's requirements notwithstanding, “[c]ourts
should resolve doubts regarding the usefulness of an
expert's testimony in favor of admissibility.”
Marmo, 457 F.3d at 758. This is because the Rule
“only requires that an expert possess ‘knowledge,
skill, experience, training, or education' sufficient to
‘assist' the trier of fact, which is
‘satisfied where expert testimony advances the trier of
fact's understanding to any degree.'”
Robinson v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 447 F.3d 1096, 1100
(8th Cir. 2006) (internal citation omitted). As such,
“[g]aps in an expert witness's qualifications or
knowledge generally go to the weight of the witness's
testimony, not its admissibility.” Id. at
Court considers three different motions to exclude part or
all of experts' testimony. The Court will first address
Defendants' motion to strike, followed by Plaintiff's
Motion to exclude Mr. Oldham, and finally, Plaintiff's
motion to exclude portions of Mr. Chewning's opinions.
Defendants Asplundh Construction Corporation and Anthony
Michael Rogers's Motion to Strike Plaintiff's
Designation of William E. Hampton as an Expert
in their memorandum in support of their motion to strike
argue: Mr. Hampton's opinions fail to conform to the
requirements of Rule 702, and should be excluded because he:
lacks the requisite experience to reach his conclusions,
applies inconsistent assumptions, reaches legal conclusions,
and opines on areas outside of his expertise, where he does
not have first-hand knowledge. Further, Defendants argue Mr.
Hampton's opinions will not aid the jury on the legal
issues they must decide and are more prejudicial than
probative. [ECF No. 44]. Plaintiff responds Mr. Hampton's
conclusions are based on his considerable knowledge as an
expert in the field, are reliable and are central to the
issues in dispute. [ECF No. 51].
argue each of Mr. Hampton's final
conclusions contained in his expert report are
deficient, and makes substantially similar arguments for most
of the conclusions in doing so. Defendants generally make
five arguments Mr. Hampton's conclusions are
inadmissible: (1) Mr. Hampton reveals no particular
principles or methodology used to formulate his conclusions;
(2) he lacks the requisite experience and expertise to reach
his conclusions; (3) he applies inconsistent assumptions to