United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ANTHONY RICHARDSON, JR., Plaintiff.
SEACOR LIFEBOATS, LLC, SECTION:
SUSIE MORGAN, District Judge.
Before the Court is Defendant SEACOR Liftboats, LLC's ("SEACOR") Motion in Limine to Exclude the Opinions, Report, and Anticipated Testimony of the Plaintiff's Liability Expert, Jack Madeley. Plaintiff Anthony Richardson, Jr. opposes SEACOR's motion. The Court has considered the arguments of counsel and the applicable law. For the reasons that follow, SEACOR's Motion in Limine is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The Court will permit Mr. Madeley to testify as Plaintiff's liability expert, subject to the restrictions set forth below.
LAW & ANALYSIS
When expert testimony is challenged, the burden of proof rests with the party seeking to present the testimony to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the expert's testimony satisfies Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Rule 702 permits an expert witness with "scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge" to testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if such testimony "will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, " so long as "the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, " "the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, " and "the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case."
"The Supreme Court's landmark case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. provides the analytical framework for determining whether expert testimony is admissible under Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence." District courts are required to act as gatekeepers to "oversee the admission of scientific and non-scientific expert testimony" in order to make a preliminary assessment of "whether the expert testimony is both reliable and relevant." The district court is afforded broad latitude in making such expert testimony determinations. With respect to determining the relevancy of an expert's testimony pursuant to Rule 702 and Daubert, the proposed "expert testimony must be relevant, not simply in the sense that all testimony must be relevant [pursuant to Rule 402], but also in the sense that the expert's proposed opinion would assist the trier of fact to understand or determine a fact in issue."
Plaintiff hired Mr. Madeley to testify about "all aspects of liability." Mr. Madeley's expert report contains the following written opinions:
1. It appears the crane operator failed to safely operate the crane and lower the personnel basket at a proper speed.
2. It appears that SEACOR failed to ensure its crane operator operated the crane safely.
3. The SEACOR crane operator failed to comply with API 2D-1984 section 2.4.3e and 46 CFR 109.521 ("API violations").
4. SEACOR failed to ensure safe operations on its vessel.
5. The above listed unreasonably dangerous conditions, management decisions, failures, deficiencies and associated negligent acts of commission or omission, on the part of SEACOR, related to the issues discussed in this report, were to a reasonable degree of engineering probability more than likely producing and proximate causes of the incident and related injuries that occurred to Anthony Richardson, Jr.
The Plaintiff points out, and the Court notes, that SEACOR does not challenge Mr. Madeley's qualifications as an expert witness. However, SEACOR seeks to exclude Mr. Madeley's opinions, report, and testimony for two reasons:
1. His opinions are based merely on common sense and do not bring any greater insight to the case than that ...