Economics Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant related to a personal injury claim.  Plaintiff hired an Economics Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert testimony.  The court denied the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (Esparza v. REGENT INSURANCE COMPANY – United States District Court – District of Kansas – July 9th, 2019) involves a personal injury claim.  The plaintiff was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident in June 2016 near San Diego, California.  After she recovered from his injuries, the plaintiff was able to return to work with numerous restrictions ordered by her physicians.  The plaintiff hired Economics Expert Witness Gary Baker, PhD to provide an opinion about the value of her economic losses, which includes lost future earnings and loss of household services on behalf of her wife and children.

Discussion:  Baker explains that the historic loss was calculated based on the plaintiff’s employment as of the date of her accident.  In addition, future economic loss was calculated using a mathematical formula utilizing numerous factors including wages and employer benefits, time, mortality adjustment, growth rate, and discount/interest rate.

The defendant argues that the assumptions utilized by Baker for the future economic loss equation were incorrect because the plaintiff “did not designate a second expert to provide an opinion on her pre-injury earning capacity versus her post-injury earning capacity.”

The defendant relies on a court opinion (Foster v. USIC Locating Servs. LLC) in which Baker’s opinion on the plaintiff’s past and future lost income was unreliable and speculative.  In that case, however, the court did not find fault in Baker’s calculations themselves.

The court in this case opines that there is no indication that the plaintiff is expected to reach further medical improvement.  In addition, the court notes that Baker’s opinions are not entirely without foundation nor are they based on facts that have been proven to be false.

In addition, the court notes that the defendant’s challenges to the assumptions behind Baker’s calculations of future lost wages go to the weight of the testimony, not the admissibility.

The court also opines that it has previously found Baker’s valuation of lost household services was reliable because the methodology used was enough to justify admission.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Gary Baker, PhD is denied.