Information Technology Expert Witness Testimony Allowed In Interest Rate Litigation

Plaintiffs hired an Information Technology Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court denied the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (Childress et al v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of North Carolina – July 2nd, 2019) involves a claim under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) as well as other laws.  The plaintiffs allege that debts that they incurred by the defendant should have been reduced to a 6% interest rate.  The plaintiffs have hired Arthur Olsen (Information Technology Expert Witness) to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert witness from testifying.

Discussion:  Olsen has offered an expert opinion on the ascertainability of the putative class and the calculation of the potential class members’ damages.  The court notes that Olsen owns an Information Technology and has over twenty years of professional experience in the IT field.

The court also states that Olsen has litigation experience in which he analyzed historic bank data from over thirty U.S. banks in order to determine whether damaged class members could be ascertained and to calculate individual damages from those class members.

The defendant argues that Olsen’s testimony is not grounded in fact and that it relies on assumptions.  As an example, the court notes that Olsen opines that the class is readily identifiable based upon the defendant’s data.  Olsen also opines that the calculation of class damages can be accomplished using data that is available to the defendant and that an algorithm can be developed to accomplish this.

The defendant argues that Olsen’s opinions should be excluded because he does not identify specific data on which he will rely, but relies on broadly on “data available” to the defendant.

The court notes that Olsen’s declaration is clear that he would be able to use customer and account information that the defendant maintains in order to accurately ascertain the class and calculate class damages.

The court opines that the question is not whether Olsen’s damages calculation is accurate, but whether his calculations is relevant and reliable.  The court opines that they are.  The court opines that Olsen has conducted similar analyses in other cases and that the court is persuaded that he can do so here.

The court also notes that the defendant can challenge the reliability and relevancy of Olsen’s opinions during the jury trial.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Arthur Olsen is denied.