United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
RYAN R. KINNERSON
ARENA OFFSHORE, LP, ET AL
ORDER & REASONS
E. FALLON U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
the Court is Defendants' Motion in Limine/Daubert Motion
to Exclude Report, Opinions, and Testimony of Plaintiff's
Expert Economist and Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant, R.
Doc. 129. The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 132. The Court now
rules as follows.
Ryan Kinnerson alleges that he was injured on or about May
25, 2015, while working on a fixed platform off the coast of
Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Complaint,
Plaintiff sustained injuries while being transferred by
Defendant Sparrows' temporary crane in a personnel basket
from the fixed platform to the M/V Miss Claire. R. Doc. 1 at
3. Plaintiff alleges that while in the basket, the
“personnel basket violently struck the M/V Miss
Claire's railing throwing [Plaintiff] off the personnel
basket onto the deck of the M/V Miss Claire thereby causing
[Plaintiff] to sustain severe disabling personal
injuries.” R. Doc. 1 at 3-4. Plaintiff brought suit
against Arena Offshore, LP, Sparrows Offshore, LLC; and Texas
Crew Boats, Inc. All Defendants except Sparrows have settled
with Plaintiff and are thus dismissed from this case.
motion, Defendants argue that the Court should exclude the
expert reports of Plaintiff's vocational rehabilitation
consultant, Glenn Hebert, and expert economist, John Theriot.
R. Doc. 129-2 at 1. Defendants contend that Plaintiff's
experts offer fundamentally unsupported opinions that will do
nothing to assist the finder of fact in understanding the
evidence. R. Doc. 129-2 at 4. Plaintiff opposes the motion.
R. Doc. 132. Because Defendants filed the present motion
before Defendant Sparrows remained as the only Defendant, the
Court's analysis below refers to Defendants in the
LAW AND ANALYSIS
admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Rule 702 of
the Federal Rule of Evidence, which provides that:
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will
assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to
determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert
by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education, may
testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if
(1) the testimony is based on 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. This rule codifies the Supreme Court's
decisions in Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and
Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999).
The Court's gate-keeper function in a bench
Court must act as a “gate-keeper” to ensure the
proffered expert testimony is “both reliable and
relevant.” Wells v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.,
601 F.3d 375, 378 (5th Cir. 2010). However, “[t]he
primary purpose of the Daubert filter is to protect
juries from being bamboozled by technical evidence of dubious
merit.” SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Apotex
Corp., 247 F.Supp.2d 1011, 1042 (N.D. Ill. 2003).
Accordingly, the Court's “gate-keeper” role
is diminished in a bench trial because there is no need to
protect the jury and risk tainting the trial by exposing the
jury to unreliable evidence. See Whitehouse Hotel Ltd. V.
P'ship v. Comm'r, 615 F.3d 321, 330 (5th Cir.
2010). Although the “gate-keeper” role may be
diminished, the Court is still required to perform its
gate-keeping function. Metavante Corp. v. Emigrant Sav.
Bank, 2010 WL 3385961 (7th Cir. 2010).
opposition, Plaintiff argues a Daubert motion is
inappropriate in this case because it involves a bench trial.
R. Doc. 132 at 2. Plaintiff contends, “[t]his Court is
experienced and more than capable of evaluating expert
testimony and assigning it the appropriate weight.” R.
Doc. 132 at 2. Plaintiff also references numerous cases tried