Hotel & Hospitality Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Family Dispute Litigation

Summary: Hotel & Hospitality Expert Witness deemed allowed to testify as the court opined that the expert opinions have a sufficient basis in the alleged facts of the case

Facts:  This case (Patel v. Patel et al – United States District Court – Western District of Oklahoma – January 4th, 2019) involves a family dispute over family dealings.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendants shorted him when they distributed proceeds from a sale of a hotel business.  The plaintiff seeks to recover the claimed shortfall and other damages under the legal theories of breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion, and fraud.  The defendants have counterclaimed for breach of loan contracts, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation, conversion, and unjust enrichment.  The plaintiff has hired Hotel & Hospitality Expert Witness Bishok Dhungana to provide expert testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony in this case.

Discussion:  The defendants do not dispute that Mr. Dhungana is qualified to provide expert opinions in the area of hotel accounting.  The defendants assert that Mr. Dhungana opinions are unreliable, and therefore, inadmissible.  The defendants also argue that Dr. Dhungana did not have sufficient facts and data to reach any conclusions and that his methodology is flawed because it is based on unreliable assumptions and information.

The defendants primarily argue that Mr. Dhungana’s opinions are not reliable because he utilized recreated records provided by the plaintiff’s son and relied on assumptions that are speculative.  The defendants do not dispute that critical financial documents are missing or never existed.  The court opines that the primary basis for their defense seems to be the alleged informal business practices of East Indian culture.  The court also opines that the plaintiff must necessarily recreate records and cobble together information from existing records in order to prove her claims.

The court opines that Mr. Dhungana’s expert opinions have a sufficient basis in the alleged facts of the case, and that his education, training, and experience are reliable and generally admissible.  The court also opines that it appears that the defendants disagree with Mr. Dhungana’s conclusions, which is an improper basis to reject his expert testimony, and that their concerns are more appropriately addressed by objection and cross-examination at trial and that the defendants’ arguments go to the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Bishok Dhungana is denied.