United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Timothy J. Sullivan United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude the
Expert Testimony and Report of Christine Limparis
(“Motion”). (ECF No. 70.) Having considered the
submissions of the parties (ECF No. 70, 71 & 74), I find
that a hearing is unnecessary. See Local R. 105.6.
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion will be
January 19, 2016, Plaintiff Maryam Balbed
(“Balbed”), filed a complaint against her former
employer, Defendant Eden Park Guest House, LLC (“Eden
Park”), alleging that she was not paid wages as
required by the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, and the
Montgomery County, Maryland minimum wage law. On January 10,
2017, Judge Messitte granted Eden Park's cross-motion for
summary judgment. (ECF No. 35.) In doing so, Judge Messitte
agreed with Eden Park's argument that the parties'
written contract constituted an exception to certain FLSA
recordkeeping and calculation of in-kind wage requirements.
Balbed appealed this decision to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. (ECF No. 37.)
January 25, 2018, the Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded,
concluding that the district court failed to make certain
findings as to whether Eden Park's in-kind compensation
conformed to the relevant FLSA requirement (29 U.S.C. §
203(m)) and corresponding Department of Labor Regulations.
Balbed v. Eden Park House L.L.C., 881 F.3d 285
290-91 (4th Cir. 2018). Of import to Balbed's Motion, the
Fourth Circuit stated that “if Eden Park can provide a
reconstruction of records that the district court deems
reasonable, those reconstructed records can be used to assess
Balbed's appropriate wages.” Id. On
remand, Judge Messitte issued an Order permitting the parties
time for “limited discovery, including time for
Defendants to attempt to reconstruct records pertaining to
the amount of wages-in cash and kind-paid to Plaintiff, and
for both Plaintiff and Defendants to assess the nature of,
and value of, the living quarters Plaintiff occupied during
her employment with Defendants.” (ECF No. 57 at 1.)
discovery, Eden Park produced an expert report prepared by
Christine Limparis (“Limparis”). In the report,
Limparis states her opinion on the proper calculation of
“a monthly housing and living cost allocation for the
Inn-keeper of Eden Park for the period July 2015 through June
2016.” (ECF No. 70-4 at 2.) Ultimately, Limparis
concluded that “the combined total monthly housing and
living costs allocated to the Inn-keeper is $993 in 2015 and
$829 in 2016.” (Id.) To arrive at these
calculations, Limparis considered the reasonable cost to Eden
Park of furnishing Balbed with board, lodging, and other
facilities. Limparis calculated the cost of Balbed's
personal living space at Eden Park's facility, the cost
of Balbed's use of the common area of Eden Park's
facility, and the cost of Balbed's use of supplies
purchased by Eden Park for use at its facility. (Id.
moves to exclude the expert testimony of Limparis because it
is not reliable or relevant under the standard announced in
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
Balbed argues that Limparis is not qualified to offer an
expert opinion on the reasonable costs to Eden Park of
furnishing Balbed with board, lodging, and other facilities
during the course of her employment, that her methodology is
unreliable, that her calculations are incorrect, that her
calculations are based on incorrect and inaccurate data and
assumptions, and that her opinion is not relevant because it
does not correlate with the requirements of 29 U.S.C. §
201(m). (ECF No. 70-1 at 3.) Because Limparis's opinion
is not reliable or relevant, Balbed argues, it must be
excluded from evidence.
Rule 104(a) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Court is
responsible for determining preliminary questions conerning
the qualification of a person to be a witness and the
admissibility of evidence, including the admissibility of
expert testimony under Fed.R.Evid. 702. “With regard to
expert testimony, it is well settled that ‘[t]he party
seeking admission of the expert testimony bears the burden of
establishing admissibility by a preponderance of the
evidence.'” Maryland v. Dent, No.
ELH-18-360, 2019 WL 1795531, at *1 (D. Md. Apr. 23, 2019)
(quoting Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Tecumseh Prods.
Co., 767 F.Supp.2d 549, 553 (D. Md. 2011).
testimony is admissible under Rule 702, then, if it concerns
(1) scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge
that (2) will aid the jury or other trier of fact to
understand or resolve a fact at issue.” Westberry
v. Gislaved Gummi AB, 178 F.3d 257, 260 (4th Cir. 1999)
(citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592).
The first prong of this inquiry necessitates an examination
of whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the
expert's proffered opinion is reliable- that is, whether
it is supported by adequate validation to render it
trustworthy. The second prong of the inquiry requires an
analysis of whether the opinion is relevant to the facts at
issue. Thus, an expert's testimony is admissible under
Rule 702 if it rests on a reliable foundation and is
Id. at 260-61 (internal citations and quotation
marks omitted). See also Kumho Tire Co. v.
Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 141 (1999) (holding that the
Daubert standard also applies “to the
testimony of . . . other experts who are not
exercising its “gate keeping function” to
consider the admissibility of expert testimony, the Court
undertakes a “flexible” inquiry, “focusing
on the ‘principles and methodology' employed by the
expert, not on the conclusions reached.”
Westberry, 178 F.3d at 261 (quoting
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594-95). The Fourth Circuit has
directed district courts considering the admissibility of
expert testimony to “be conscious of two guiding, and
sometimes competing, principles.” Id. at 261.
On the one hand, the court should be mindful that Rule 702
was intended to liberalize the introduction of relevant
expert evidence. And, the court need not determine that the
expert testimony a litigant seeks to offer into evidence is
irrefutable or certainly correct. As with all other
admissible evidence, expert testimony is subject to being
tested by vigorous cross-examination, presentation of
contrary evidence, and careful instruction on the burden of
proof. On the other hand, the court must recognize that due
to the difficulty of evaluating their testimony, expert
witnesses have the potential to be both powerful and quite
misleading. And, given the potential persuasiveness of expert
testimony, proffered evidence that has a greater potential to
mislead than to enlighten should be excluded.
Id. (internal citations and quotation marks
applying Daubert to challenged expert testimony,
courts typically ...