United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge
Memorandum Order addresses Plaintiffs' Motion to Preclude
Defendant's Expert Joseph Hancock (“Hancock”)
from Testifying (“Plaintiffs' Motion”). (ECF
Nos. 60, 61.) Following a Motions Hearing conducted on August
17, 2017, this Court took the matter under advisement. Having
further considered the parties' submissions and their
arguments presented at the hearing, this Court finds that
Hancock's reports and proposed testimony do not satisfy
the standards of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 588 (1993), as set forth under
Federal Rule of Evidence 702. Accordingly, Plaintiff's
Motion (ECF No. 60) will be GRANTED, Hancock may not testify
at trial, and defendants may not introduce Hancock's
reports into evidence.
702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence 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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
“Under Rule 702…Courts are required to act as
‘gatekeepers' to ensure that expert testimony is
relevant and reliable.” Bresler v. Wilmington Trust
Co., 855 F.3d 178, 195 (4th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Cooper v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 259 F.3d 194,
199 (4th Cir. 2001). See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 588 (1993). “[A] district
court ‘must conduct a preliminary assessment' to
determine whether the methodology underlying the expert
witness' testimony is valid.” Bresler, 855
F.3d at 195 (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592-93).
Rule 702 allows for a liberal introduction of expert
evidence, “courts must recognize that due to the
difficulty of evaluating their testimony, expert witnesses
have the potential to ‘be both powerful and quite
misleading.'” Westberry v. Gislaved Gummi
AB, 178 F.3d 257, 261 (4th Cir. 1999) (quoting
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595). The proponent of the
expert testimony in question must establish admissibility
“by a preponderance of proof.” Cooper,
259 F.3d at 199 (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592 n.
10). The United States Supreme Court in Daubert v.
Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) set forth
several factors for courts to consider in assessing the
admissibility of expert testimony. The United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently reiterated those
factors in Bresler :
In assessing the validity of the methodology employed by a
proposed expert witness, a court may consider whether the
expert witness' theory or technique: (1) “can be or
has been tested”; (2) “has been subjected to peer
review and publication”; (3) “has a high known or
potential rate of error”; and (4) is generally accepted
“within a relevant scientific community.”
Bresler, 855 F.3d at 195 (citing Cooper,
259 F.3d at 199). The Daubert factors are
“neither definitive, nor exhaustive.”
Cooper, 259 F.3d at 199 (citing Kumho Tire Co.
v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 150 (1999)). Rather,
“[t]he district court must be granted
‘considerable leeway in deciding in a particular case
how to go about determining whether particular expert
testimony is reliable.' ” United States v.
McLean, No. 16-4673, --- Fed.App'x ---, 2017 WL
2533381, at *1 (4th Cir. June 12, 2017) (quoting United
States v. Wilson, 484 F.3d 267, 273 (4th Cir. 2007)).
See also Rockman v. Union Carbide Corp.,
RDB-16-1169, 2017 WL 3022969, at *3 (D. Md. July 17, 2017).
raise three broad arguments in support of their motion.
First, they argue that all of Hancock's opinions are
based on impermissible speculation. (ECF No. 61 at
¶¶ 2-4.) Second, plaintiffs assert that
Hancock's opinions are unsupported by facts and data.
(Id. at ¶¶ 5-7.) Third, plaintiffs assert