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Caudill Seed and Warehouse Company, Inc. v. Jarrow Formulas, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

March 29, 2019

CAUDILL SEED AND WAREHOUSE COMPANY, INC. PLAINTIFF
v.
JARROW FORMULAS, INC. DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE

         Pursuant to the Court's Pretrial Order (DN 273), the parties have filed pretrial motions in limine. Pending before the Court and resolved in this Memorandum Opinion and Order are:

Caudill's Motion to Exclude Testimony and Reports of Leslie West and Kean Ashurst (DN 286)
Jarrow's Motion in Limine to Preclude the Testimony of William Wingate on Compensatory Damages (DN 291)
Jarrow's Motion to Strike the Supplemental Expert Report of William Wingate and the Portions of Plaintiff's Disclosure of Damages Based Thereon (DN 294)

         The remaining motions in limine will be resolved by separate order.

         I. Legal Standard

         The admissibility of expert witness testimony is governed by Federal Rules of Evidence 104(a), 701, 702, and 704, applied under the rubric established in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999). Rule 702 provides that:

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. Therefore, the expert's opinion must be both relevant and reliable. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589. To be relevant, there must be a “valid . . . connection to the pertinent inquiry as a precondition to admissibility.” Id. at 592. In other words, there must be a “fit” between the expert's opinion and the case at bar. Id. at 591. An opinion is reliable when “an expert, whether basing testimony on professional studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice in the relevant field.” Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 152. The proponent of the testimony must establish admissibility by a preponderance of the evidence. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592 n.10.

         In assessing reliability, Daubert offered four factors: testing, peer review and publication, potential rate of error, and general acceptance in the relevant community. Id. at 593-94. These factors are not exhaustive and may have no pertinence in certain cases. Nelson v. Tenn., 243 F.3d 244, 251 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 141). Rule 702 offers an additional five factors for the Court to consider:

(1) Whether experts are proposing to testify about matters growing naturally and directly out of research they have conducted independent of the litigation, or whether they have developed their opinions expressly for purposes of testifying;
(2) Whether the expert has unjustifiably extrapolated from an accepted premise to an unfounded conclusion;
(3) Whether the expert has adequately accounted for alternative explanations;
(4) Whether the expert is being careful as he would be in his regular professional work outside his paid litigation consulting; and (5) Whether the field of expertise claimed by the expert is known to reach reliable results for the type of opinion the expert would give.

         Fed. R. Evid. 702 advisory committee's note to 2000 amendment (citations omitted).

         II. Discussion

         Through these motions, Jarrow and Caudill challenge each other's experts. Caudill argues that Leslie West and Kean Ashurst should not be permitted to testify regarding whether Caudill's information are trade secrets. In turn, Jarrow argues that William Wingate, Caudill's damages expert, uses unreliable methods and was untimely in revealing his opinions.

         A. Caudill's Motion to Exclude Testimony and Reports of Leslie West and Kean Ashurst (DN 286)

         Caudill makes four arguments for exclusion. First, it argues both experts should be excluded because a trade secret expert is improper. Second, it argues both trade secret experts would cause confusion for the jury. Third, it argues that West should be excluded because he lacks expertise in its trade secrets. Fourth, ...


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