Behavioral Science Expert Witness Testimony Partially Allowed in Discrimination Case

Plaintiff sued defendant related to a claim of discrimination.  Defendant hired a Behavioral Science Expert Witness to testify on their behalf.  Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court granted the motion in part and denied it in part.

Facts:  This case (Yu v. Idaho State University et al – United States District Court – Idaho District Court – February 15th, 2019) involves a discrimination claim.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendant discriminated against him due to his national origin in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  The defendant has hired Dr. C. Gladney, Ph.D (Behavioral Science Expert Witness) to provide expert witness testimony.  The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude the testimony of this expert.

Discussion:   Dr. has a Ph.D. in social anthropology.  He is a professor in the department of anthropology at Pomona College in California.  His work concentrates on field work in China, Asia Minor regarding minority populations, including ethnic and religious minorities in those locations.

The plaintiff argues that Dr. Gladney’s opinions is not relevant to any subject at issue in the lawsuit or is a matter of common sense and knowledge such that the testimony would not assist the jury.  In addition, the plaintiff argues that Dr. Gladney’s opinions are not admissible because they fail to meet the applicable standards of intellectual rigor.  In addition, the plaintiff states that Dr. Gladney references just one scholarly publication, which the plaintiff argues is both irrelevant and flawed.  Last, the plaintiff alleges that Dr. Gladney’s opinions should be excluded because they are impermissible opinions of law.

The court opines that Dr. Gladney is qualified to provide expert witness testimony in this case.  The court notes that he does not need to a clinical psychologist or have familiarity with an academic program in clinical psychology to be qualified to opine generally on difficulties that Chinese nationals may experience in America.  The court also opines that Dr. Gladney’s testimony would assist the jury because it is relevant to the defendant’s stated reason for dismissing the plaintiff.

The court opines that Dr. Gladney will be allowed to opines about the extent to which the plaintiff’s dismissal was consistent with the struggles a Chinese national might experience in an american national setting.  However, the court also states that he may not opines about the discrimination or racism because he has not established that he is qualified to do so.  The court also states that the defendant has not established that Dr. Gladney’s testimony will be reliable enough that he is qualified to opine on these topics.  Nothing in his report indicates that he has any experience or knowledge with Title VI, averse racism, or discrimination.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. C. Gladney is granted in part and denied in part.