Plaintiff sued defendant under ADA claims. Defendant hired an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Expert Witness to provide testimony. The defendant filed a motion to exclude, which was granted in part and denied in part.
Facts: This case (Hernandez-Gil v. Dental Dreams, LLC et al – United States District Court – District of New Mexico – March 29th, 2018) involves a claim of disability discrimination under the ADA (American’s With Disabilities Act). The plaintiff alleges numerous claims under the act. The defendant hired Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Expert Witness William D. Goren, Esq to provide testimony in this case. The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.
Discussion: The plaintiff argues that the following opinions by Mr. Goren should be excluded: 1) The only accommodation which Dr. Hernandez-Gil insisted was not reasonable because it imposed an undue hardship for the business; 2) Dr. Hernandez-Gil did not engage in an interactive process with the defendants concerning reasonable accommodation; and 3) Dr. Hernandez-Gil’s dog was not a service animal at the time of employment.
First, plaintiff argues that Mr. Goren’s testimony should be limited to the facts of the matter and not legal ramifications, including what would constitute an “undue burden”. The defendant alleges that Mr. Goren opines on the ultimate facts, not legal conclusions. The court opined that Mr. Goren’s opinions are legal conclusions that would impede the jury’s duty to apply the matter of law and should thus be excluded.
In addition, the plaintiff contends that having a dog in an office setting is within the juror’s common knowledge and does not require an expert. The court disagreed, stating that Mr. Goren’s testimony on this issue will be helpful to the jury and is not an impermissible legal conclusion. Also, the plaintiff argues that. Mr. Goren does not have expertise in germ migration. However, the court disagreed, stating that his experience with ADA compliance issues makes him qualified to offer opinions on germ migration. The court also ruled that any arguments about Mr. Goren’s qualifications go to the weight of the evidence and not the admissibility.
The plaintiff also seeks to exclude Mr. Goren from testifying that the plaintiff broke up the interactive process. The court opined that Mr. Goren’s testimony on this issue is a legal conclusion and should be excluded. That said, Mr. Goren will be allowed to testify on his factual opinions concerning the interactive process.
Last, the plaintiff argues that Mr. Goren should be excluded from rendering an opinion on whether the plaintiff’s dog was acting as a service dog. The court opines that that Mr. Goren’s testimony should be allowed as it would be helpful to the jury in determining whether or not the plaintiff’s dog was acting as a service dog.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the testimony of Mr. William D. Goren, Esq was granted in part and denied in part.