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Vaughn v. Konecranes, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

April 13, 2015

GEORGE VINCENT VAUGHN, Plaintiff,
v.
KONECRANES, INC., Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff,
v.
DEMAG CRANES AND COMPONENTS CORP.; HETRONIC USA, INC.; and CENTRAL MOTOR WHEEL OF AMERICA, INC., Third Party Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DANNY C. REEVES, District Judge.

This matter is pending for consideration of the Defendant Konecranes, Inc.'s motion to preclude Frederick G. Heath from testifying during trial in a manner consistent with the matters outlined in his expert reports. [Record no. 96] For the reasons discussed below, the defendant's motion will be granted.

I.

As discussed in prior orders, this action arises from a warehouse accident involving an industrial overhead crane. On May 8, 2012, while working at Central Motor Wheel of America, Inc. ("CMWA"), Plaintiff George Vincent Vaughn was injured when a crane pinned his foot. [Record No. 1-2, p. 21] Vaughn brought suit against Konecranes in the Bourbon Circuit Court under various theories of negligence and product liability. Thereafter, the action was removed to this Court. [Record No. 1] The Court entered a Scheduling Order, assigning deadlines for discovery and dispositive motions and setting the case for trial to begin on August 18, 2015. [Record No. 12] Under that Scheduling Order, the parties were to complete discovery and supplement disclosures by February 2, 2015. [ Id. ]

The plaintiff hired Heath as a liability expert and expects him to testify regarding "why and how Mr. Vaughn was hurt, " including offering opinions on Konecranes' alleged violation of a Crane Manufacturing Association of America Standard and the cause of the crane's malfunction. [Record No. 129-1, p. 4] On November 17, 2014, Heath issued his initial report. [Record No. 90-3] After the close of discovery, the plaintiff notified the Court of the necessity to supplement Heath's report based on newly-discovered information. [Record No. 91] The supplemental report was tendered on March 18, 2015. [Record No. 120-1] The defendant has raised objections to Heath's testimony based on Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the principles set out in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Konecranes attacks the reliability of Heath's initial report and argues that the supplemental report was untimely and should be excluded.

II.

Any challenge to expert testimony must begin with Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence which was modified in December 2000 to reflect the Supreme Court's holdings in Daubert and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999). Rule 702 states:

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

Fed. R. Evid. 702.

Based on the foregoing, for an expert's opinion to be admissible, it must satisfy three requirements. "First, the witness must be qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. Second, the testimony must be relevant, meaning that it will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. Third, the testimony must be reliable." In re Scrap Metal Antitrust Litigation, 527 F.3d 517, 529-30 (6th Cir. 2006). When a party's expert witness is challenged, the Court ...


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