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Severe v. Middle Tennessee Truss Co., LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

August 28, 2019

BOBBY SEVERE PLAINTIFF
v.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE TRUSS COMPANY, LLC DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          GREG N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion in Limine (DN 59), Defendant's Motion in Limine (DN 60), and Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (DN 61). The motions are ripe for adjudication. For the reasons outlined below, the Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is GRANTED, Plaintiff's Motion in Limine is GRANTED, and Defendant's Motion in Limine is DENIED.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CLAIMS

         This action involves non-fatal injuries suffered by Plaintiff Bobby Severe (“Severe”) when a truss he was installing in a barn on his property collapsed. (Compl. ¶¶ 5, DN 1-1). Severe had built several houses and other structures including barns and had installed several trusses in his lifetime. (B. Severe Dep. 10:13-14, 13:18-23, 24:7-10, July 19, 2017, DN 60-4).

         On the day of his accident, Severe was attempting to set a truss purchased from Defendant Middle Tennessee Truss Company, LLC (“MTTC”). (M. Severe Dep. 12:22-24, Aug. 30, 2017, DN 64-2). When Severe stepped out on the truss to nail a “jig” to it, the truss collapsed “just like when you unzipped your britches.” (Willis Dep. 12:19-13:4, 16:1-5, 17:1-4, May 30, 2018, DN 64-5). Severe has no recollection of the events immediately preceding or following the accident. (B. Severe Dep. 40:7-41:21).

         Severe filed this action in state court asserting claims of negligence and strict liability against MTTC. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-13, DN 1-1). Subsequently, MTTC removed the case to this Court. (Notice Removal, DN 1).

         II. JURISDICTION

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 as there is complete diversity between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $75, 000.00.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motions in Limine

         The parties have filed competing motions in limine relating to the respective opposing expert witnesses. Under Fed.R.Evid. 403, “[t]he court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403. The admissibility of scientific evidence is governed by Fed.R.Evid. 702, which provides:

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 ...

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