The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge
This matter is before the Court on the State Defendants' motion to exclude the testimony of Plaintiffs' racial profiling expert, Dr. John Lamberth. [Docket Item 363.] The principal issues are: (1) whether Dr. Lamberth's method of analyzing inspection data in his initial expert report is reliable and helpful to a trier of fact; (2) whether Dr. Lamberth's analysis of evidence that Defendants used racist epithets is an expert opinion that is helpful to a trier of fact; and (3) to the extent Plaintiffs have sought to introduce the briefly-stated conclusions offered in Dr. Lamberth's rebuttal report, whether Plaintiffs have shown them to be based on a reliable method.
Plaintiffs are attempting to prove that two individual state officials - members of New Jersey's Commercial Bus Inspection Unit (CBIU) - discriminated against each of Plaintiffs' bus companies on the basis of the race of the owners of the bus companies over a period of several years. Plaintiffs argue that they were disproportionately stopped for inspection, subject to greater scrutiny, and issued more citations than white-owned bus companies. Plaintiffs hired Dr. Lamberth, a social psychologist who is an expert on racial profiling, to examine the data regarding the inspection of Plaintiffs' buses.
Dr. Lamberth prepared his opinion by examining the State's inspection records regarding Plaintiffs and one other company who leased buses from one of the Plaintiffs (Rahman Muhammad, doing business as Yours Charter Service).*fn1 Lamberth compared that group's collective experience with that of all other bus companies traveling to Atlantic City. [Docket Item 363-2 ("Lamberth Report") at 5-6.] The CBIU performed 7,975 bus inspections in Atlantic City between 2000 and 2007. Plaintiffs and Rahman Muhammad were inspected 130 times. [Id. at 5.] Dr. Lamberth compared this fraction (130/7,975, or approximately 1.6%) to the fraction of bus trips to casinos that his test group constituted (calculated to be .34%), the latter percentage having been developed by straightforward but rough methods of extrapolation from limited data. [Id. at 6-8.] Dr. Lamberth observed that the likelihood of this distribution of inspections occurring by random chance is vanishingly small, and this remains true even if the calculation of the fraction of bus trips to casinos that his test group constituted is off by a reasonable degree.
Dr. Lamberth also examined the duration of inspections, level of inspection, results of the inspection, and other inspection-related variables using the identical method (i.e., comparing the sum or mean of each group's results and showing that it would be very unlikely for an underlying normal distribution to yield both sets of results by random chance). He showed that there were statistically significant differences in the results for each group for each category. [Lamberth Report at 11-14.] Finally, Dr. Lamberth's initial report also briefly comments on the import of evidence that the State Defendants made racist remarks in the workplace, opining that this is consistent with a finding of racial discrimination. [Id. at 19-20.]
In response to criticism from Defendants' expert and in order to respond to Defendants' expert report, Dr. Lamberth prepared a rebuttal report. [Docket Item 363-3 ("Lamberth Rebuttal").] Among other things, in this rebuttal report Dr. Lamberth offers some new conclusions about what the inspection database reveals. [Id. at 15-17.] Dr. Lamberth opines that the condition of Plaintiffs' buses cannot explain the pattern he observed. He reaches this new conclusion based on an exhibit, which is not in the record, that purportedly suggests the buses were not in worse condition than other inspected buses, and based on a new statistical analysis comparing the outcomes of New Jersey State Police inspections to CBIU inspections. [Id.]
The question before the Court is whether Dr. Lamberth's initial report, and the conclusions in his rebuttal report, are admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The admissibility of putative expert testimony is governed by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Rule 702 provides:
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles ...