United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
here is Plaintiff David Franco's (“Franco”)
Motion in Limine to Prohibit Testimony and Opinions of
Defendants' DOT Compliance Expert, Lane VanIngen [Doc.
No. 134]. Defendants have filed an opposition [Doc. No. 145].
case arises out of a motor vehicle accident. On or about
November 24, 2015, Franco's vehicle was involved in a
collision with an 18-wheel truck owned by Defendant Mabe
Trucking Co., Inc., (“Mabe”) and being driven by
Defendant Richard Agee (“Agee”) on Interstate 20
in Louisiana shortly after crossing the border between Texas
and Louisiana. On November 22, 2016, Franco filed suit
against Mabe in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, alleging
diversity of citizenship jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). On July 6, 2017, the suit was transferred to this
Court. On May 3, 2018, Franco filed a Supplemental and
Amended Complaint adding Agee and National Interstate
Insurance Company as defendants.
alleges that the accident was caused by the negligent
operation of the Mabe truck by Agee in pulling onto
Interstate 20 directly in front of him. Defendants contend
the accident was caused solely by the negligence of Franco in
not paying attention and rear-ending the Mabe truck. Thus,
one of the issues to be presented to the jury is fault.
Motion in Limine requests exclusion of the opinion testimony
of Defendants' expert, Lane VanIngen, on the basis that
his opinions are either wholly irrelevant or fall outside the
scope of “DOT Compliance, ” his stated field of
Rule of Evidence 702 establishes the standards for
admissibility of expert testimony to assist a trier of fact
in understanding evidence or determining a fact in issue. In
determining whether expert testimony is reliable and
relevant, the district court's role in applying Rule 702
is that of a gatekeeper. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597-598, (1993).
However, as gatekeeper, the district court is not intended to
replace the adversary system: “Vigorous
cross-examination, presentation of contrary evidence, and
careful instruction on the burden of proof are the
traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but
admissible evidence.” United States v. 14.38 Acres
of Land, More or Less Situated in Lefore County, Miss.,
1074');">80 F.3d 1074, 1078 (5th Cir. 1996) (quoting
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596).
determining whether to allow expert opinion testimony, the
court must first decide whether the witness is qualified as
an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or
education. See Moore v. Ashland Chemical, Inc., 126
F.3d 679, 684 (5th Cir. 1997). 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 particular subject. Wilson v.
Woods, 163 F.3d 935');">163 F.3d 935 (5th Cir. 1999).
witness is qualified to testify, the court must then
determine whether the proffered testimony is both relevant
and reliable. “The expert testimony must be relevant,
not simply in the sense that all testimony must be relevant,
Federal Rule of Evidence 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.”
Bocanegra v. Vicmar Services, Inc., 1');">320 F.3d 581,
584 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing Daubert, 509
U.S. at 591-92).
reliability, Rule 702 only authorizes the admission of expert
testimony when “(1) the testimony is based upon
sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of
reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has
applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of
the case.” Fed.R.Evid. 702. Expert testimony requires
more than “subjective belief or unsupported
speculation.” Daubert, 509 U.S. at 590.
have retained Lane VanIngen to provide expert opinions in
“DOT Compliance.” Franco objects to six (6)
conclusions contained in Mr. VanIngen's report of
November 27, 2018:
1. Mabe Trucking Co. Inc., C&C Asset Management LLC, and
FedEx Ground Package System Inc. are USDOT regulated motor
carriers, and each commercial motor vehicle driver, was
subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(hereinafter referred to as the FMCSRs) on November 24, 2015,
the date of the crash that is the basis for this case.
2. Mabe Trucking Co Inc.'s motor carrier operation is
managed in a reasonably compliant manner with all applicable
sections of the FMCSR's.
3. Richard A. Agee was qualified to operate a commercial
motor vehicle and the selection of Richard A. Agee as a
commercial motor vehicle driver by Mabe Trucking Co. Inc.,
was reasonable and completed ...