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Parker v. John W. Stone Oil Distributors, L.L.C.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 28, 2019

JEREMY A. PARKER
v.
JOHN W. STONE OIL DISTRIBUTORS, L.L.C.

         SECTION "L" (2)

          ORDER & REASONS

          ELDON E. FALLON U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are the following motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude the Opinions of Robert Borison, R.Doc. 29; (2) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude Cumulative Opinions of Dr. Everett Robert and Dr. Archie Melcher, R. Doc. 30; and (3) Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude the Opinions of Plaintiff's Safety Expert, Don J. Green, R. Doc. 31. Each motion is opposed. R. Docs. 33, 34, 36. The second and third motions have replies. R. Docs. 41, 46. The Court now rules as follows.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from injuries Plaintiff Jeremy Parker, a Jones Act seaman, allegedly sustained while working as a tankerman aboard a vessel, the M/V PRESAGER, owned by Defendant John W. Stone Oil Distributors LLC. R. Doc. 1 at 2. Plaintiff claims a fellow crewmember pulled on a face wire, causing a line to pop, which resulted in a 10-pound shackle falling approximately ten feet and hitting Plaintiff in the head. R. Doc. 30-1 at 1. Plaintiff alleges this impact caused serious injuries to his neck and head and rendered him unfit for duty as a seaman. R. Doc. 30-1 at 1. According to the Complaint, the sole and proximate cause of the accident was Defendant's negligence and maintenance of an unseaworthy vessel. R. Doc. 1 at 2- 3. Accordingly, Plaintiff seeks to recover past, present, and future physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering; loss of wages and wage-earning capacity; medical expenses; past and future physical disability; and past, present, and future maintenance and cure. R. Doc. 1 at 3.

         Defendant contests the cause of Plaintiff's accident and asserts Plaintiff placed himself in an unsafe position in violation of Defendant's safety rules. R. Doc. 35 at 1. Further, Defendant alleges Plaintiff failed to inspect the line in question prior to its use. R. Doc. 35 at 1.

         II. PRESENT MOTIONS

         Before the Court are several overlapping motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude the Opinions of Robert Borison, R. Doc. 29; (2) Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude Cumulative Opinions of Dr. Everett Robert and Dr. Archie Melcher, R. Doc. 30; and (3) Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude the Opinions of Plaintiff's Safety Expert, Don J. Green, R. Doc. 31. Each motion is opposed. R. Docs. 33, 34, 36. The second and third motions have replies. R. Docs. 41, 46.

         III. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         The admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Rule 702 of the Federal Rule of Evidence, which provides:

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 Pharma., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999).

         The 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). This requires the Court conduct a two-pronged assessment to determine whether the expert testimony is: (1) based on reliable methodology and (2) will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589-91.

         a. Whether Defendant's experts' ...


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