Daubert Shorts – Recent Opinions on Motions to Exclude Expert Witness Testimony


  1. Smart v. BNSF Railway Co. – Court of Appeals of the State of Kansas – March 4th, 2016 – This case involves a work-related injury filed under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.  The Appellee (smart) appeals an order from the district court which granted summary judgment for the Appellant (BNSF).  The court had excluded the various experts that were called by the Smart in order to prove breach of duty and causation.  Specifically, the district court excluded the testimony of Dr. Tyler Kress (ergonomics expert witness) stating that it would not be helpful to the trier of fact.  The appeals court agreed and affirmed the opinion.
  2. Beede v. Stiefel Labs., Inc. – United States District Court – Northern District of New York – March 7th, 2016 – The Plaintiffs in this case sued defendants for, among other counts, securities fraud.  The defendants hired  Lance T. Studdard and Chester Gougis (financial planning expert witnesses) to provide expert witness testimony on their behalf and the Plaintiffs filed a motion to exclude their opinions.  The motion was denied in part and granted in part.
  3. R.C. v. State – District Court of Appeal of Florida – Second District – March 11th, 2016 – This case involves the appeal of a disposition of probation upon a juvenile (R.C.).   The juvenile was found guilty of possession of marijuana and placed on probation.  R.C. subsequently appealed the disposition, stating that the district court erred when it allowed a law enforcement officer’s police procedures expert witness testimony which identified cannabis on the appellant.  R.C. stated that this testimony does not adhere to the new Daubert standard for the admissibility of expert witness testimony, arguing that the opinion was “pure opinion” and that it was not based on scientifically supported data and methodology.  The appeals court stated that although the state of Florida has incorporated the more rigorous standard for expert witness testimony, the courts have already settled on the issue of what type of expertise is needed to detect cannabis on an individual.
  4. Arnez v. The TJX Cos – United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit – March 15th, 2016 – The Appellants (Arnez), husband and wife appeal a decision by the district court which denied their motion for a new trial on damages.  Part of the appeal is their assertion that the district court erred when it admitted the defendant’s biomechanics expert witness, Kirk L. Thibault, Ph.D.  The appellants argue that Thibault’s testimony prejudiced their case.  The district court opined that the Arnez’s failed to prove that Thibault’s testimony prejudiced their case and the appeals court agreed.