United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
PATRICK J. HANNA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending is the Daubert motion (Rec. Doc. 44), which
was filed by the plaintiff and seeks to exclude the
anticipated trial testimony of the defendants' expert
witness, W. Timothy Finn, II. The motion is opposed.
Considering the evidence, the law, and the arguments of the
parties, and for the reasons fully explained below, the
motion is DENIED.
commercial dispute, Whitney Bank is seeking to collect
amounts allegedly owed by the defendants pursuant to two
promissory notes executed by SMI Companies Global, Inc. and
guaranteed by SMI's director, officer, and shareholder,
Vaughn S. Lane. The bank is also seeking recognition of the
enforceability of the bank's security interest in
SMI's accounts receivables. The defendants asserted
affirmative defenses and counterclaims against the bank.
support of its motion, Whitney Bank argued that Mr.
Finn's opinions are not relevant because he opined that
the bank owed duties to the defendants that are not grounded
in the language of the documents signed by the bank and the
defendants in connection with the bank's loans to the
defendants. More particularly, Whitney Bank objects to Mr.
Finn's opinion that the bank was required “to act
in a commercially reasonable manner, to act fairly and in
good faith, and to act in accordance with the standard of
care in the banking industry.” (Rec. Doc. 44-1 at 16).
The bank contends that the only duties it owed to the
defendants are those found in the provisions of the loan
documents and those found in the Louisiana Credit Agreement
Statute, La. R.S. § 6:1121 et seq. The bank
argued that, because the duties Mr. Finn identified do not
arise out of the loan documents or the cited statute, Mr.
Finn's opinions are irrelevant to the issues presented in
this lawsuit. The defendants argued that the duties Mr. Finn
attributed to the plaintiff in his opinions are derived from
the Uniform Commercial Code, particularly as codified at La.
R.S. 10:1-201, 10:1-304, and 10:1-607, and are also grounded
in banking industries principles with which Mr. Finn is
familiar due to his years of experience in that field.
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the
United States Supreme Court provided the analytical framework
for determining whether expert testimony is admissible under
Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Both scientific
and nonscientific expert testimony are subject to the
Daubert framework, which requires trial courts to
make a preliminary assessment of whether the expert testimony
is both reliable and relevant. When expert testimony is
challenged under Daubert, the party offering the
expert's testimony bears the burden of proving its
reliability and relevance by a preponderance of the
evidence. Reliability is determined by evaluating
whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the
expert's testimony is scientifically valid. To be relevant,
the expert testimony must assist the trier of fact to
understand or determine a fact in issue. The relevance
prong also requires the proponent of the expert testimony to
demonstrate that the expert's reasoning or methodology
can be properly applied to the facts at issue in the
Finn's Opinions are Relevant
Bank did not challenge the reliability of Mr. Finn's
opinions or the methodology by which he reached them. Whitney
Bank's sole contention is that Mr. Finn's opinions
are not relevant because they do not rest upon the language
of the documents executed by the bank and its customer or the
statute cited by the plaintiff.
Court finds that Mr. Finn's opinions with regard to the
standards applicable to bankers' dealings with their
commercial customers are relevant, particularly concerning
the affirmative defenses and counterclaims asserted by the
defendants, because they will help the court to understand
how the banking industry works, what acts and omissions fall
within the parameters of commercially reasonable and good
faith conduct on the part of bank employees, and what types
of conduct by bank employees fail to meet the industry
standards and the standards imposed by the UCC. Mr.
Finn's opinions will likely help the court to decide
disputed factual issues, particularly with regard to the
affirmative defenses and counterclaim asserted by the
defendants. Therefore, the motion will be denied.
as the litigation progresses, the relevance or reliability of
Mr. Finn's opinions may again need to be addressed.
Accordingly, the court will not bar the plaintiff from again
asserting its objection to Mr. Finn's anticipated
testimony, if appropriate, at a later stage of the litigation
but not later than the time of the pretrial conference.
foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that the plaintiff's
motion seeking to exclude the testimony of the
defendants' expert witness W. Timothy Finn, II (Rec. Doc.
44) is DENIED without prejudice to the right of the plaintiff
to reassert the motion, if appropriate.
FURTHER ORDERED that the deadline for the plaintiff to
reassert its objections to Mr. Finn's testimony, if
appropriate, is the deadline for filing motions in limine,