United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
COX OPERATION, L.L.C.
SETTOON TOWING, L.L.C., ET AL.
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a motion in limine filed by defendant
Settoon Towing, L.L.C., in personam, and the Tug M/V
Megan B. Settoon and her tow, their engines, etc., in
rem, (collectively, “Settoon”) to exclude
testimony from plaintiff Cox Operating, L.L.C.'s
(“Cox”) expert Arthur Zatarain
(“Zatarain”) under Rule 702. For the following
reasons, the motion is denied.
702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governs the
admissibility of expert witness testimony. See Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 588 (1993).
Rule 702 provides:
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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in
Daubert “provides the analytical framework for
determining whether expert testimony is admissible under Rule
702.” Pipitone v. Biomatrix, Inc., 288 F.3d
239, 243 (5th Cir. 2002). Both scientific and nonscientific
expert testimony is subject to the Daubert
framework, which requires trial courts to make a preliminary
assessment to “determine whether the expert testimony
is both reliable and relevant.” Burleson v. Tex.
Dep't of Criminal Justice, 393 F.3d 577,
584 (5th Cir. 2004).
qualify as an expert, ‘the witness must have such
knowledge or experience in [his] field or calling as to make
it appear that his opinion or inference will probably aid the
trier in his search for truth.'” United States
v. Hicks, 389 F.3d 514, 524 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting
United States v. Bourgeois, 950 F.2d 980, 987 (5th
Cir. 1992)). Additionally, Rule 702 states that an expert may
be qualified based on “knowledge, skill, experience,
training, or education.” Id. “A district
court should refuse to allow an expert witness to testify if
it finds that the witness is not qualified to testify in a
particular field or on a given subject.” Huss v.
Gayden, 571 F.3d 442, 452 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Wilson v. Woods, 163 F.3d 935, 937 (5th Cir. 1999)).
“Rule 702 does not mandate that an expert be highly
qualified in order to testify about a given issue.
Differences in expertise bear chiefly on the weight to be
assigned to the testimony by the trier of fact, not its
admissibility.” Id.; see alsoDaubert, 509 U.S. at 596. An expert's lack of
specialization similarly goes to the weight of evidence
offered by that expert. Vedros v. Northrop Grumman
Shipbuilding, Inc., 119 F.Supp.3d. 556, 562 (5th Cir.
2015). The Court applies a preponderance of the evidence
standard when performing this gatekeeping function. ...