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United States v. An Easement and Right-Of-Way Over 4.95 Acres of Land, More or Less, In Madison County

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

May 11, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, upon the relation and for the use of the TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, Plaintiff,
v.
AN EASEMENT AND RIGHT-OF-WAY OVER 4.95 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, IN MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA, P & C LAND DEVELOPMENT, LLC, DARRIN ISBELL, and SOUTHPOINT BANK, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

C. LYNWOOD SMITH, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the motion to exclude expert testimony filed by plaintiff, the United States of America.[1] Upon consideration of the briefs and evidentiary submissions, this court concludes that the motion should be granted.

I. LEGAL STANDARDS

Analysis of the admissibility of expert testimony must begin with Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which provides that:

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

Fed. R. Evid. 702 (2014).[2] The Eleventh Circuit requires district courts to "conduct an exacting analysis of the foundations of the expert opinions to ensure they meet the standards for admissibility under Rule 702." United States v. Abreu, 406 F.3d 1304, 1306 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004)) (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted). The analysis has three parts: that is, district courts are required to assess whether

(1) the expert is qualified to testify competently regarding the matters he intends to address; (2) the methodology by which the expert reaches his conclusions is sufficiently reliable as determined by the sort of inquiry mandated in Daubert [ v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993)]; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of fact, through the application of scientific, technical, or specialized expertise, to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.

United States v. Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004) ( en banc ) (quoting City of Tuscaloosa v. Harcros Chemicals, Inc., 158 F.3d 542, 562 (11th Cir. 1998)) (alteration supplied); see also, e.g., Rink v. Cheminova, Inc., 400 F.3d 1286 (11th Cir. 2005) (same).

[T]he objective of that requirement is to ensure the reliability and relevancy of expert testimony. It is to make certain that an expert, whether basing testimony upon professional studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field.

Kumho Tire Company, Ltd. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 152 (1999) (alteration supplied). "The inquiry... is a flexible one, " because "[m]any factors will bear on the inquiry, and... [there is no] definitive checklist or test." Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 593-94 (1993) ...


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