Court admitted the valuation expert reports presented by both parties in this case involving the termination of a wine distributorship agreement 

In a wine distribution lawsuit, the court denied motions by both parties to exclude expert witness testimony. The court found most issues went to the weight of the evidence rather than admissibility. Citing the less stringent Daubert standard in a bench trial, the court expressed confidence in its ability to properly weigh even questionable expert opinions based on the trial evidence. The court deferred key methodological challenges until trial.

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Court partly admits the consumer survey research and damages findings presented by the defense experts in trademark infringement suit

In this trademark infringement case over the RED GOLD mark, the court ruled on motions to exclude expert testimony. The Plaintiff, Solid 21, sought to exclude survey findings by the Defendants’ expert Mark Keegan regarding whether consumers identified “red gold” as a brand in ads. The Court denied this motion, finding Keegan qualified and his survey relevant to fair use. However, the court partially granted Solid 21’s motion to exclude testimony by another defense expert, Kennedy. Kennedy improperly relied on Keegan’s brand awareness survey to estimate consumer preferences for apportioning profits. The court found this unreliable since brand awareness and purchasing motivations are distinct. The Court also barred Kennedy from summarizing the court’s prior fair use rulings. Overall, the Court allowed testimony by Keegan that his survey measured brand awareness, relevant to fair use. But it excluded Kennedy’s attempts to use Keegan’s survey to show consumer motivations driving sales, finding he misapplied the data. The Court also prevented Kennedy from offering legal opinions on fair use standards. This demonstrates the importance of experts reliably applying methodologies to fit the purpose for their testimony.

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Court limits treating physician’s testimony pertaining to issues concerning the Plaintiff’s treatment 

This case demonstrates the court’s “gatekeeping” role in assessing reliability of expert testimony under Daubert and excluding opinions outside an expert’s direct knowledge and treatment. The decision provides guidance on constraining expert witness testimony to matters firmly within the bounds of the expert’s qualifications and experience.

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Court excludes the unsubstantiated testimony of labor standards expert witness on account of non-compliance with the disclosure requirements of Rule 26

The Court excluded the Plaintiffs’ expert witness report in this fair labor standards act case for noncompliance with Rule 26 requirements. The report lacked a detailed explanation of the expert’s methodology and opinions. It relied on facts not yet available through discovery. Further, it failed to identify supporting exhibits or provide the expert’s qualifications and publications. With no insight into the validity of the expert’s analysis, and given a prior chance to amend, the Court found exclusion necessary under Daubert. Compliance with disclosure rules is key.

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Court qualifies retired judge as legal malpractice expert witness in South Dakota

This case examined the admissibility of expert testimony on the standard of care in a South Dakota legal malpractice claim. The Court ruled the Plaintiff’s expert could opine on the national standard despite lacking state-specific credentials. The Court found no evidence the alleged attorney errors were sufficiently tied to unique local rules and customs to require a state-specific standard of care. The case illustrates that under Rule 702, an expert’s lack of local licensure does not necessarily bar testimony on a national standard in a malpractice suit. It also shows Courts have discretion in evaluating relevance and reliability of expert opinions in such cases.

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Orthopedic expert testimony on causation survives unreliable methodology challenge in Louisiana

The District Court denied Plaintiff’s motion to exclude the testimony of Defendant’s expert Dr. Millet. Though Dr. Millet did not examine the Plaintiff and made some factual assumptions, the Court found his methodology of reviewing medical records combined with his experience was sufficiently reliable under Daubert. The Court held disputes over the basis for an expert’s opinion should affect the weight assigned, not admissibility. Shaky but admissible testimony should be attacked through cross-examination and contrary evidence, not exclusion.

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Unreliable testimony by metrology and food safety expert excluded in class action for false and deceptive advertising

In this class action, the court excluded expert testimony alleging Laird Superfood mislabeled serving sizes on its products. The court found the expert’s consumer-perspective testing methodology lacked scientific reliability controls and details. His opinions were also irrelevant to whether Laird followed FDA labeling rules. Without the expert testimony, the plaintiff could not prove Laird violated labeling regulations. This resulted in dismissal, underscoring the importance of admissible expert evidence in such cases.

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Vermont Court limits executive search and recruitment expert’s opinions regarding Plaintiff’s job qualifications and associated compensation range

Although Ketchum is qualified as an expert based on his extensive professional experience in executive recruiting, portions of his opinions were excluded as unreliable under Rule 702. His opinion on Wolfe’s probable compensation range relied solely on limited data points regarding Wolfe’s prior salary and his successor’s pay without explaining his reasoning. Ketchum’s opinion that Wolfe’s job search efforts were reasonable was an inadmissible legal conclusion. His media research opinion failed to provide an admissible causation analysis and ignored unfavorable evidence. Despite Ketchum’s qualifications, his methodology was inadequate regarding these opinions, warranting exclusion under Rule 702.

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Court admits expert testimony regarding restrictive covenants in public nuisance case

In Stone v. Harley Marine, the court denied Harley’s attempt to exclude Plaintiff’s expert, finding his long experience preparing neighborhood analyses qualified him to opine on land use and deed restrictions. The court held that the expert employed a reliable methodology involving site inspection and document review. While Harley could make specific objections at trial, the court found the expert’s experience analyzing neighborhoods as a real estate appraiser qualified him to serve as a rebuttal witness despite lacking formal credentials as a land planner. The court also declined to limit Plaintiff’s testimony about her property value since she agreed to comply with the Texas Property Owner Rule.

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Court limits fire and battery expert testimony in fatal laptop battery explosion case

This case arose from a December 2015 apartment fire in Everett, Washington that was allegedly caused by a lithium-ion laptop battery manufactured by Hewlett-Packard (HP). The plaintiff insurance company brought subrogation claims against HP for negligence and strict product liability under Washington law. The plaintiff retained two expert witnesses who opined that the fire was caused by an internal short circuit in the HP laptop battery, which then ignited surrounding combustible materials. HP filed Daubert motions challenging the admissibility of the two experts’ testimonies. The court excluded some opinions as beyond the experts’ qualifications or based on flawed testing methodology. However, the court found enough expert testimony survived to create factual disputes warranting denial of HP’s motion for summary judgment on the strict liability claim. Thus, the case was allowed to proceed to trial based on the admissible expert opinions that the fire originated on the bed where the laptop was located and may have been caused by the laptop battery.

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  • Recent Expert Challenges

    Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness, Expert Challenges

    Court limits expert testimony on crash reconstruction and its contributing factors

    September 28, 2023

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