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Hunters Run Gun Club, LLC v. Baker

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

June 4, 2019

HUNTERS RUN GUN CLUB, LLC, ET AL.
v.
EDDIE D. BAKER

          RULING

          SHELLY D. DICK CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Defendant's Eddie D. Baker (“Baker”), Sugar-West, Inc. (“Sugar West”), Bridgeview Gun Club, LLC (“Bridgeview”) and Keith Morris (“Morris”), Joint Daubert Motion to Exclude the Report, Opinions and Testimony of Harold A. Asher, CPA (“Asher”).[1] The Motion is opposed by the Plaintiffs, Hunters Run Gun Club, LLC (“Hunters Run”) and Great International Land Company, LLC, (“Great International”).[2]

         For the following reasons the Motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Great International and Hunters Run are single member LLC's owned by Ronald Duplessis (“Duplessis”).[3] In 2004, Great International acquired improved property located at 1365 Northwest Drive, Port Allen, Louisiana, (the ‘Property”) for the operation of a semi-private gun club, by Hunters Run. In 2009, Great International sold the Property to the Law Enforcement District of the Parish of West Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana (the “LED”) and leased back the Property which continued to be operated as a gun club by Hunters Run. In 2011 the written lease between Great International and the LED expired by its terms, but the lease continued month-to-month through reconduction until November 23, 2016.[4] In September 2016, the LED notified Great International that it intended to “open negotiations” for a new lease.[5] Ultimately LED leased the Property to Keith Morris (“Morris”) and the Property was operated as a gun club by Bridgeview Gun Club, LLC (“Bridgeview”).

         The dispute arises because of alleged business losses experienced by the Duplesis entities, Hunters Run and Great International. In short, Plaintiffs allege that the Hunters Run former manager Eddie D. Baker (“Baker”) misappropriated Hunters Run trade secrets and business information and went to work for the competition, ie. Bridgeview, and caused financial harm to Great International and Hunters Run.

         Harold Asher, CPA was engaged by Greta International and Hunters Run to provide opinion testimony regarding alleged financial losses that Plaintiffs contend were caused by the Defendants. The defendants move to exclude Asher's opinions claiming that that “Asher (a) does not base his opinions on sufficient facts or data, (b) conducted no investigation into the alleged causation asserted by the Plaintiffs, and (c) does not employ appropriate or reliable principles or methodology, which can be tested.”[6]

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Opinion testimony is admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence, if (1) the witness is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, (2) the expert's reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is sufficiently reliable, and (3) the testimony is relevant.[7] The party offering expert testimony is not required to establish the correctness of the opinion; rather, the proponent of the opinion testimony bears the burden of establishing “by a preponderance of the evidence that the testimony is reliable.”[8] “Both the determination of reliability itself and the factors taken into account are left to the discretion of the district court consistent with its gatekeeping function under Fed.R.Evid. 702.”[9]

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702, allows a witness who is qualified as an expert to testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(1) 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;
(2) The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(3) The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(4) The expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the ...

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