Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Expert Witness Not Allowed in Six Flags Discrimination Case

Summary:  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Expert Witness testimony not allowed because the expert provided legal opinions about discrimination, which is not admissible.

Facts – This case (Patterson v. Six Flags Theme Parks Inc., et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of California – May 9th, 2024) involves a claim under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act.  The plaintiff, Melvin Patterson, claims that the defendant, Six Flags, discriminated against him by not providing an American Sign Language interpreter when he visited the defendant’s amusement park.  To assist in their case, the defendant hired Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Expert Witness Robert F. Minnick to provide expert witness testimony.  The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Mr. Minnick.

Discussion:  First, the court discussed whether Mr. Minnick is qualified to offer an expert witness opinion in this case.  The court notes that he is at least minimally qualified based on his knowledge about ADA compliance.

The court then moves on to Mr. Minnick’s expert witness opinion relevant to this case.  The court states that two of his opinions (that there is no evidence of discrimination by the defendant and that same-day interpretive services are not reasonable) are excluded because these are legal opinions.  In addition, the court rules that these opinions would not assist the trier of fact as he did not explain how he used the evidence to come to his conclusions.

Also, the court opines that two other of Mr. Minnick’s opinions are about another person’s state of mind because state of mind if for the trier of fact to decide.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Mr. Minnick is granted.