United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
JOSE A. TRINIDAD, Plaintiff,
DANIEL JOE MOORE, JR., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HAROLD ALBRITTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the court on Defendants' Renewed Motion
to Preclude the Testimony of Plaintiff's Expert, Jon P.
Dillard (“Dillard”). (Doc. # 201).
court has addressed whether Dillard may give expert testimony
in a previous order. (Doc. # 132). In that order, the court
found Dillard qualified under Daubert and Kumho
Tire to give expert opinions on safety standards in the
tractor trailer industry. (Doc. # 132). As a safety expert,
Dillard may opine about the standard of care for the
commercial trucking industry and whether Moore's conduct
fell below it under various sets of hypothetical facts.
Id. However, because Dillard is not an accident
reconstructionist, he may not opine as to how the accident in
this case happened or accept as true any one versions of it.
Id. After reviewing Dillard's earlier opinions
to which Defendants had objections, the court granted in part
and denied in part Defendants' first Motion to Preclude
Testimony of Plaintiff's Expert Jon P. Dillard.
the court's previous order, Dillard has submitted a
supplemental report wherein he states new opinions concerning
whether, and if so, how Defendant RDB should have retained
Defendant Daniel J. Moore (“Moore”) in light of a
positive drug test. In response to this report, Defendants
bring this Motion. For the reasons discussed below,
Defendants' Renewed Motion to Preclude is due to be
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
admissibility of expert testimony is governed by the Federal
Rules of Evidence, Rule 702 (“Rule 702”), which,
as interpreted by the Supreme Court, “assign[s] to the
trial judge the task of ensuring that an expert's
testimony both rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant
to the task at hand.” Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 587 (1993). This
“gatekeeping” function is important “to
ensure that speculative, unreliable expert testimony does not
reach the jury under the mantle of reliability that
accompanies the appellation expert testimony.” Rink
v. Cheminova, Inc., 400 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2005)
(quotation and citation omitted). Moreover, “[i]t 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 practices of an expert in the relevant
field.” Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael,
526 U.S. 137, 152 (1999).
argue that Dillard's proposed testimony is inadmissible
for three reasons:
First, Dillard's opinions are not reliable because they
are not based on sufficient facts or data. Second,
Dillard's proposed opinions are not relevant because they
do not aid the trier of fact in reaching its decision, and,
in fact, invade the province of the jury. Third,
Dillard's opinions constitute inadmissible legal
(Doc. # 201, p. 4). Additionally, Defendants stated an
objection to one of Dillard's opinions during the
pretrial conference because it arguably relates to the mental
state of the Defendants. The court will address each of these
arguments, in turn.
opinions in his supplemental report, like his opinions in his
earlier report, are sufficiently reliable because they are
based upon his personal knowledge and experience. As the
court explained in its previous order, for nonscientific
testimony, “the trial judge must have considerable
leeway in deciding in a particular case how to go about
determining whether particular expert testimony is
reliable.” Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 152.
“A district court may decide that nonscientific expert
testimony is reliable based ‘upon personal knowledge or
experience.'” Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co. v.
Schoenthal Family, LLC, 555 F.3d 1331, 1338 (11th Cir.
2009) (citing Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 151).
dispute the reliability of two of Dillard's opinions:
Opinion 2 and Opinion 3.Defendants argue that these opinions are
not reliable because they are based upon a misunderstanding
of the evidence. Specifically, Defendants quarrel over
Dillard's use of the terms “random” versus
“follow-up” testing. However, despite the
Defendants' concerns, the difference in the type of
testing to which Dillard attributes significance is reliable
if offered based on the industry's ...