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Hall v. Ikea Property Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 2, 2016

CHARLES HALL, Plaintiff,
v.
IKEA PROPERTY, INC., a foreign profit corporation, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE DEFENDANT'S EXPERT WITNESS, ANDREW J. SIEVERS (ECF NO. 74)

          LINDA V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Charles Hall (“Plaintiff) filed this lawsuit asserting claims of premises liability and negligence against Defendant Ikea Property, Inc.

         (“Defendant” or “Ikea”). The matter is currently scheduled for trial on November 14, 2016. Both Plaintiff and Defendant have filed motions in limine in anticipation of trial, which presently remain pending before the Court. In those motions, Plaintiff seeks to:

. Strike Defendant's Expert Witness, Andrew J. Sievers (ECF No. 74); and
. Strike Nonparty At Fault Claim (ECF No. 75). Defendant's motions in limine seek to:
. Exclude Testimony of DeAndre Kinney (ECF No. 76); and
. Preclude Evidence of Plaintiff s Wage Loss Claim (ECF No. 77). Both parties have filed briefs in response to the opposing party's motions. (ECF Nos. 78-84.) The Court now resolves the Motion to Strike Defendant's Expert Witness, Andrew J. Sievers. (ECF No. 74.)

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff filed this suit against Defendant for an injury he obtained through the course of his employment at J.W. Logistics (“JW”). (ECF No. 28, ¶¶ 3, 7.) This Court issued a scheduling order on October 14, 2014, requiring the parties to submit their lay and expert witness lists by November 14, 2014. (ECF No. 18 at Pg ID 68.) Both parties submitted timely lay and expert witness lists. (ECF Nos. 21, 22.) Defendant's Witness List included liability experts, but did not include Andrew J. Sievers (“Sievers”) as a potential witness. (ECF No. 21 at Pg ID 78-84.)

         Defendant filed a supplemental witness list on August 23, 2016 naming Sievers as an expert witness on the issue of liability. (ECF No. 70 at Pg ID 891-92.) On September 8, 2016, Defendant provided Plaintiff with Sievers' expert report.[1] (ECF No. 83 at Pg ID 1160.)

         Defendant argues that Sievers' testimony should be allowed, because “[o]nly the identity of this expert changed, not the subject matter of the testimony.” (ECF No. 83 at Pg ID 1159.) Plaintiff argues that this late disclosure still violates Rule 26(a)(1) and should not be admissible. (ECF No. 74 at Pg ID 903.) Further, Plaintiff points out deficiencies within the actual report. Plaintiff asserts that the expert report fails to include the information required under Rule 26.

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 (“Rule 26”) governs disclosure of expert testimony. Under Rule 26(a)(2)(B), parties are required to provide a written report unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B). A party who fails to provide an expert report in accordance with Rule 26(a) is “not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.” Fed.R.Civ. P. 37(c)(1).

         Rule 26 also governs the timeliness of disclosures by experts. Rule 26(2)(D) states that a party must make expert testimony disclosures “at least 90 days before the date set for trial or for the case to be ready for trial” or within 30 days after another party's disclosure if the expert witness testimony is intended to contract or rebut evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(2)(D). District courts have broad discretion to exclude untimely disclosed expert-witness testimony. Matilla v. S. Kentucky ...


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