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Teenier v. Charter Communications, LLC

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

July 25, 2017

Terry Teenier, Plaintiff,
v.
Charter Communications, LLC, Defendant.

          United States Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE AN EXPERT WITNESS AND REQUESTING A MORE DETAILED EXPERT REPORT [9]

          Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         On September 7, 2016, Terry Teenier (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Charter Communications, LLC (“Defendant”). Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Defendant violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by retaliating against Plaintiff for exercising FMLA rights. 29 C.F.R. § 825.220(c). Id.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion in Limine to exclude the report and testimony of Plaintiff's Expert Economist, Frank Stafford. Dkt. No. 9. Defendant argues that Stafford's testimony is not supported by sufficient factual foundations and should therefore be excluded. Id. at 2 (Pg. ID 60). For the reasons stated herein, Defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff shall amend or supplement his Expert Economist's report or the report will be stricken.

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 governs the use of expert testimony. In re Scrap Metal Antitrust Litig., 527 F.3d 517, 528 (6th Cir. 2008). Rule 702, as amended in 2000, reflects the Supreme Court's decisions in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999). Id.

         Rule 702 provides that a trial court may permit an expert witness given the satisfaction of three requirements. Id. at 528-29. First, the witness must be qualified by “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.” Fed.R.Evid. 702. Second, the proffered testimony must be relevant and must “assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.” Id. Lastly, the expert's testimony must be reliable. Id. Courts determine reliability by considering whether the testimony is based upon “sufficient facts or data, ” whether the testimony is the product of “reliable principles and methods, ” and whether the expert “has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.” Id.

         The Supreme Court has explained that district courts carry an obligation to act as a gatekeeper ensuring the reliability of expert testimony. Kumho Tire Co., 526 U.S. 137, 147 (1999). However, “rejection of expert testimony is the exception, rather than the rule.” United States v. LaVictor, 878 F.3d 428, 442 (6th Cir. 2017).

         In Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589-95, the Supreme Court provided four factors a court may use when determining the reliability of an expert witness's testimony. The factors include (a) the theory's testability, (b) whether it has been a subject of peer review or publication, (c) the “known or potential rate of error, ” and (d) the “degree of acceptance within the relevant community.” Id. The Sixth Circuit has recognized that the Daubert factors “are not dispositive in every case” and should only be applied “where they are reasonable measures of the reliability of expert testimony.” Gross v. Comm'r, 272 F.3d 333, 339 (6th Cir. 2001).

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure further dictate procedural requirements for experts' written reports. Rule 26(a)(2)(B) requires that an expert report contain:

(i) a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them;
(ii) the facts or data considered by the witness in forming them;
(iii) any exhibits that will be used to summarize or support them;
(iv) the witness's qualifications, including a list of all publications authored in the previous 10 years;
(v) a list of all other cases in which, during the previous 4 years, the witness testified as an expert at trial ...

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