United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the defendants' motion to strike
plaintiff's expert witnesses for failure to comply with
the scheduling order. For the reasons that follow, the motion
personal injury lawsuit arises from a car accident. Vincente
Zaragoza alleges that Joshua Emery, who drove a van while
working for Rent-A-Center, crashed into Zaragoza's
Trailblazer while the two were driving east on U.S. Highway
90B in Orleans Parish.
sued Emery, Rent-A-Center, Inc., and Hartford Fire Insurance
Company in state court to recover for his injuries. The
defendants removed the case to this Court, invoking the
Court's diversity jurisdiction. The Court issued a
scheduling order selecting a March 25, 2019 jury trial date
as well as other deadlines including deadlines for exchanging
expert reports. The scheduling order mandates that the
plaintiff's written expert reports must be delivered to
the defendants no later than December 6, 2018 and that the
defendants' written expert reports must be delivered to
the plaintiff no later than January 3, 2019. The Court
admonishes counsel in the scheduling order that:
The Court will not permit any witnesses, expert or fact, to
testify or any exhibits to be used unless there has been
compliance with this Order as it pertains to the witness
and/or exhibits, without an order to do so issued on motion
for good cause shown. ...
Deadlines, cut-off dates, or other limits fixed herein may
only be extended by the Court upon timely motion filed in
compliance with the Local Rules and upon showing of good
plaintiff did not provide the defendants with any expert
reports by December 6, 2018. However, in his witness list
filed on January 3, 2019, the plaintiff lists two expert
witnesses, Aaron Wolfson, Ph.D. and Ralph A. Litolff, Jr.,
CPA/CFF/ABV, CVA, MBA. The defendants now move to strike and
exclude these two expert witnesses.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “authorizes
federal courts to control and expedite the discovery process
through a scheduling order.” Barrett v. Atlantic
Richfield Co., 95 F.3d 375, 380 (5th Cir. 1996).
Required content of the scheduling order includes deadlines
to amend pleadings, complete discovery, and file motions. The
scheduling order may be modified “only for good cause
and with the judge's consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4). “The good cause standard requires the party
seeking relief to show that the deadlines cannot reasonably
be met despite the diligence of the party needing the
extension." S&W Enters. v. Southtrust Bank of
Ala., 315 F.3d 533, 535 (5th Cir. 2003).
with the authority vested in the trial court by Rule 16 . . .
the trial court [has] broad discretion to preserve the
integrity and purpose of the pretrial order.”
Geiserman v. MacDonald, 893 F.2d 787, 790 (5th Cir.
1990)(internal citations omitted). This broad discretion
includes the decision to exclude evidence as a means of
enforcing a pretrial order. Davis v. Duplantis, 448
F.2d 918, 921 (5th Cir. 1971). Rule 37(c) also vests the
Court with discretion to impose sanctions, including the
decision to exclude expert testimony for violations of Rule
26. Barrett, 95 F.3d at 380. The trial court's
“decision as to the extent that pretrial activity
should prevent the introduction of otherwise competent and
relevant testimony at trial must not be disturbed unless it
is demonstrated that he has clearly abused the broad
discretion vested in him by Rule 16.” Davis,
448 F.2d at 921.
determine if the district court abused its discretion in
excluding expert ...