Economics Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Employment Dispute

Summary: Economics Expert Witness allowed to testify in employment lawsuit even though the defendants argued that his testimony was not reliable.

Facts:  This case (Ferraro v. Convercent, Inc. et al – United States District Court – District of Colorado – December 12th, 2018) involves an employment dispute.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendant wrongfully discharged him.  To assist in his case, the plaintiff hired Dr. Michael Orlando (Economics Expert Witness) to provide testimony.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Orlando.

Discussion:  Dr. Orlando was hired to provide expert testimony on damages.  As part of his expert report, he estimated the value of the plaintiff’s shares in Convercent as of December 31st, 2017.  The defendants argue that Dr. Orlando’s report is not relevant or reliable.  They allege that the plaintiff should be barred from recovering the current value of his Convercent shares.   The defendants argue that Dr. Orlando’s testimony is not based on sufficient facts and data because he did not consider mitigation in his report.  Last, they argue that Dr. Orlando’s testimony is not reliable because he doesn’t have any experience valuing a Software as a Service company.

The court opines that whether Dr. Orlando’s testimony is relevant depends on whether it assists the jury in determining damages.  The court further states that the average juror in this case is not likely to have the requisite knowledge to value a company’s stock based on market indicators.  The defendants argue that Dr. Orlando’s testimony is not relevant because it doesn’t fit with either of the plaintiff’s theories of the case.  The court opines that it is up to the jury to decide whether plaintiff is entitled to any damages and, as such, his testimony is relevant to the issue of damages.

The court also opines that Dr. Orlando has multiple degrees in economics  and has vast professional experiences teaching and working in the field of economics.  Even though he has never valued a software-as-a-service company, he has valued companies in the cannabis and medical devices industry.  Thus, the court opines that Dr. Orlando has the requisite knowledge, education, and experience to value the company at issue in this case.

The court also opines that it will not preclude Dr. Orlando from testifying simply because two other experts have reached a different result.  The court continues by stating that this type of discussion is best left to cross-examination at trial.  Also, the court opines that Dr. Orlando testified that he used market-based methodology to value the shares of the company and that this methodology is reliable and admissible.  The court concludes by stating that the defendants are free to question Dr. Orlando’s methodologies at cross-examination.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Orlando is denied.