One of my favorite law-related blogs is David Coale’s 600 Camp, which follows commercial litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. I normally don’t post on appellate decisions, but this morning’s 600 Camp post on the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Puga v. RCX Solutions, Inc., No. 17-41282 (Feb. 1, 2019), had so many useful tidbits that I just had to. In it, the Fifth Circuit affirmed (I have to respect visuals that are as witty and insightful as my own) a substantial judgment following a jury trial in the SDTX in a case arising from a collision with a truck. The decision has useful tidbits on Rule 50 motions, objections to the jury charge, the admissibility of expert testimony and and remittitur, which involves the “disproportionality” analysis. It might even be even better than a JMOL opinion, and you know how I feel about those.
I like orders dealing with damages experts. Mainly it’s because I understand them, because they all deal with … dollars. And I recognize things like reasonable royalties and lost profits, and damages bases because I see them all the time, and they don’t change much from case to case. In short, it’s like watching American football instead of Australian rules – I’m not Tony Romo, but I can still appreciate a well-executed play, or a totally botched one. This order analyzes a motion to strike a damages expert’s royalty and lost profits opinions, and concludes that only the latter meet the standards for admissibility. In much the same way that their kicker was the only Rams player to get points on the board last night.
This is likely a personal shortcoming, but I enjoy reading orders on motions to exclude expert testimony. Order on motions to exclude damages experts are even more fun because there’s no technology involved. And orders on motions to exclude each other’s damages experts are really fun because they provide two looks from the same judicial vantage point, using the same case facts, at motions that have to overcome the same caselaw they’re simultaneously arguing for. This case presents just such a situation.
The first day back in the office after bench/bar is always … difficult.
This morning’s Alka-Seltzer equivalent is this brief order resolving a motion to strike an expert … in a case that settled at mediation two days earlier. The notice of settlement was filed the day after the order.
This case generated seven – count ’em seven – motions to strike or limit expert testimony, five by the plaintiff and two by the defendant. The report and recommendation by Judge Giblin provides a really useful analysis into the admissibility on common categories of expert testimony.
Apparently experts are an issue in the black dirt part of the district as well, judging by these opinions from Judge Mazzant last week. They cover topics ranging from the “rebuttal” issue Judge Payne also addressed last week to lawyer-written reports, sick experts, and other more bespoke subjects.
Today saw one summary judgment ruling and five Dauberts roll out from the chambers downstairs across the street, making things about as busy downstairs this week as they were when this photo of Judge Payne’s future courtroom was taken in 1940-ish. So let’s take a quick look, shall we?
And now from the tart side of the menu, we have an order excluding an expert’s testimony as not based on sufficient qualifications only a couple of weeks before trial. No, no leave to submit an additional report was granted – didn’t you hear me describe it as “tart?” If leave had been granted I would have described it as creamy, with a hint of cinnamon and nut in the crust.
It was literally a dark and stormy night in Lavon, Texas when the plaintiff’s home, including allegedly the brick veneer, was damaged in a hailstorm/windstorm. The insurance claim that arose out of that storm generated a recent order granting only a wee bit of a motion to exclude an expert witness in the Sherman Division.
This order grants the parties’ competing motions to exclude each others’ foreign law “experts.” (Emphasis in original order). The Court’s opinion explains why this type of testimony is generally impermissible.