United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
M.D. CLAIMS GROUP, LLC ET AL.
ANCHOR SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL.
RULING AND ORDER
BRIAN A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is the Motion in Limine to Exclude Plaintiffs'
Expert (Doc. 36), filed by Defendants Anchor
Specialty Insurance Company and Lozano Insurance Adjusters,
Inc. Plaintiffs, M.D. Claims Group, L.L.C, Darryn Melerine,
and Richard Broom, filed a Memorandum in Opposition (Doc.
39). For the reasons stated herein, the Motion in
Limine (Doc. 36), is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART.
and Broom are, respectively, the majority and minority owners
of M.D. Claims Group, L.L.C. ("M.D. Claims").
(Id. at 3). Anchor Specialty Insurance Company
("Anchor") and Lozano Insurance Adjusters, Inc.
("Lozano") hired Melerine and Broom to run and
provide claim management services to Anchor's Beaumont,
Texas Claims Department. (Doc. 31 at p. 2). Plaintiffs allege
that the parties agreed that Plaintiffs would be compensated
for their claim management services based upon a fee
schedule. Initially, the nominal daily rates for Melerine and
Broom were $650 and $550 respectively. (Id. at 2).
assert that while working for Anchor, the scope of their
responsibilities evolved from the duties initially agreed
upon by the parties. (Doc. 31 at p. 3). Anchor's Vice
President of Claims, Rick Larson, allegedly asked Melerine if
M.D. Claims could do additional work for Anchor.
(Id.). This work allegedly included reorganizing the
Texas Claims Department, reducing utilization of independent
adjusting firms, relationship building with industry
professionals, and recruiting staffing for Lozano and
Anchor's offices in Texas and Florida. (Id.).
Anchor ended its relationship with M.D. Claims in February
2017. (Doc. 20-1 at p. 2).
assert that Defendants failed to compensate them for the
additional services they provided. (Doc. 31 at p. 3).
Defendants respond that the alleged additional services fell
within the initial scope of services Plaintiffs agreed to
provide and thus, Plaintiffs were not owed additional
compensation. Plaintiffs seek to recover $486, 062.37
allegedly owed to them. (Doc. 31 at p. 6). Plaintiffs bring
suit against Defendants for breach of contract. (Doc. 1).
Defendants, in the instant motion, seek to exclude the
testimony of Quin Netzel, who Plaintiffs proffer as an expert
in the services that independent adjusters provide to
insurers. (Doc. 39 at p.4).
702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governs the
admissibility of expert testimony. The Rule states that a
witness "qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education" is permitted to
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based upon 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.
702 is effectively a codification of the United States
Supreme Court's opinion in Daubert, in which the
Supreme Court held that trial courts should serve as
gatekeepers for expert testimony and should not admit such
testimony without first determining that it is both
"reliable" and "relevant." Daubert v.
Merrell Dowell Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589 (1993).
Daubert was concerned with limiting speculative,
unreliable, and irrelevant opinions from reaching a jury.
Id. at 589 n.7.
"[a]n opinion is not objectionable just because it
embraces an ultimate issue," Fed.R.Evid. 704(a), an
expert opinion may not offer conclusions of law. See Owen
v. KerrMcGee Corp.,698 F.2d 236, 240 (5th Cir. 1983).
"An expert who usurps either the role of the judge by
instructing the jury on the applicable law or the role of the
jury by applying the law to the facts at issue 'by
definition does not aid the jury in making a
decision."' Taylor v. Clarke Power Services,
Inc., Civil Action No. 16-15890, 2017 WL 5068335, at *3
(E.D. La. Nov. ...