United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana
MORGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 3, 2019, Defendant Great Lakes Dredge & Dock
Co. filed a Motion in Limine to Exclude Certain
Opinions of Robert E. Borison. Plaintiff Tex Bergeron opposes
this motion. Defendant filed a reply.
seeks to exclude the fourth opinion included in Borison's
expert report regarding “cold stress monitoring.”
In his fourth opinion, Borison opines:
It is my opinion based on my education, training and
experience that the crew aboard the ALCO should have been
monitored for cold stress as required by GLDD's N.
HEAT/COLD STRESS section of their ACCIDENT PREVENTION PLAN,
when the temperature was predicted to fall below 25
rendering his fourth opinion, Borison relies upon a U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers' safety manual and a section of
Defendant's Accident Prevention Plan.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' safety manual upon which
Borison relies in rendering his fourth opinion was not in
effect at the time of the alleged accident. Accordingly,
Borison will not be allowed to rely upon this safety manual
to support his fourth opinion. Further, the Defendant's
Accident Prevention Plan cited by Borison relates to
cold-related illnesses and is therefore irrelevant
to this matter. Accordingly, Borison will not be allowed to
base his fourth opinion on the Accident Prevention Plan.
Federal Rules of Evidence permit an expert witness with
“scientific, technical or other specialized
knowledge” to testify at trial if such testimony
“will assist the trier of fact to understand the
evidence or to determine a fact in issue, ” so long as
“(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.” Plaintiff intends to call Borison as a
“[l]iability expert who will testify about his
findings, safety issues, and all responsibility and liability
issues in this matter, as rendered in report and discovery,
and to respond to the reports of defense
experts.” Borison describes himself as a
“safety professional” with “over 50 years
of safety experience in the industries relating to . . .
marine” and “expertise relating to safety issues
on production platforms, barges, . . . and vessels/boats . .
.” Defendant does not argue Borison is
unqualified to testify as a safety expert, but rather
contends “cold stress monitoring” is outside
Borison's area of expertise.
702 permits maritime safety experts, such as Borison, to
render “opinions about safety procedures on the vessel,
” or in this case, the Booster barge. Qualified
maritime safety experts can therefore testify as to the
safety procedures a vessel or barge should have in effect.
The Court finds Borison to be qualified as an expert on
safety procedures and protocols for vessels and barges.
Defendant's challenge to Borison's credentials to
testify as to “cold stress monitoring” does not
change this result. “The requirement of reliability
does not strictly bind an expert within the proffered field
of expertise; an expert may also testify concerning related
applications of his or her background.” Moreover,
“[t]he strength of Borison's credentials goes to
the weight of his testimony and not its
IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion in
limine is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART. Borison will be allowed to
testify as to his fourth opinion that Defendant should have
monitored the crew aboard the ALCO for cold stress, based on
Borison's experience and expertise as a safety expert.
Borison will not be allowed to rely on the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers' safety manual or Defendant's Accident
Prevention Plan in testifying as to his fourth opinion.
 R. Doc. 57.
 R. Doc. 67.
 R. Doc. 69.