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Liberty International Underwriters Canada v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 29, 2018

LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL UNDERWRITERS CANADA, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTTSDALE INSURANCE COMPANY and INFINITY ACCESS LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER [219, 273, 274, 283]

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Upon consideration of the parties' motions to strike the reports of the four experts, their oppositions thereto, and oral argument held on the record, and WHEREAS, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 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 methods to the facts of the case.

and;

         WHEREAS, the Third Circuit has described the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 as a “trilogy of restrictions on expert testimony: qualification, reliability and fit.” Calhoun v. Yamaha Motor Corp., 350 F.3d 316, 321 (3d Cir. 2003) (quoting Schneider ex rel. Estate of Schneider v. Fried, 320 F.3d 396, 404-05 (3d Cir. 2003)(“[T]he district court acts as a gatekeeper, preventing opinion testimony that does not meet the requirements of qualification, reliability and fit from reaching the jury.”)); and

         WHEREAS a witness “must be qualified to testify as an expert.” Calhoun, 350 F.3d at 321. This “requires ‘that the witness possess specialized expertise.'” Id. (quoting Schneider, 320 F.3d at 405); and

         WHEREAS the Third Circuit “interpret[s] this requirement liberally, ” and an expert can be qualified through “a broad range of knowledge, skills, and training.” Id. (quoting In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 35 F.3d 717, 741 (3d Cir. 1994)); and WHEREAS this “liberal policy of admissibility extends to the substantive as well as the formal qualification of experts.” In re Paoli, 35 F.3d at 741 (noting the Third Circuit has “eschewed imposing overly rigorous requirements of expertise and ha[s] been satisfied with more generalized qualifications.”); and

         WHEREAS “it is an abuse of discretion to exclude testimony simply because the trial court does not deem the proposed expert to be the best qualified or because the expert does not have the specialization that the court considers most appropriate.” Lauria v. AMTRAK, 145 F.3d 593, 598-99 (3d Cir. 1998) (quoting Holbrook v. Lykes Bros. S.S. Co., 80 F.3d 777, 782 (3d Cir. 1996)). Indeed, experts can be qualified “on the basis of practical experience alone, and a formal degree, title, or educational specialty is not required.” Id. “[I]nsistence on a certain kind of degree or background is inconsistent” with Third Circuit jurisprudence. In re Paoli, 916 F.2d at 855; and

         WHEREAS an expert witness's “testimony must be reliable.” Calhoun, 350 F.3d at 321. “To establish reliability, the testimony ‘must be based on the methods and procedures of science rather than on subjective belief or unsupported speculation; the expert must have good grounds for his . . . belief.'” Furlan v. Schindler Elevator Corp., 516 Fed.Appx. 201, 205 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting Schneider, 320 F.3d at 404); and

         WHEREAS “in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993), the Supreme Court charged trial judges with the responsibility of acting as ‘gatekeepers' to exclude unreliable expert ...


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