Labor Law Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff sued defendant related to wages earned at defendants’ restaurant.  Plaintiff hired a Labor Law Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude this testimony.  The court denied the motion.

Facts:  This case (Cope v. Let’s Eat Out Incorporated – United States District Court – Western District of Missouri – November 21st, 2018) involves a labor and employment claim.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendant did not pay the plaintiff and other tipped employees all earned minimum wages and brings a class action under Missouri common law and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law as well as a collection action under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In addition, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated the law based on the defendants’ policy that bartenders and servers pay for customer walkouts and cash register shortages from their tips.  The plaintiff hired Dr. Chester Hanvey (Labor Law Expert Witness) to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  Dr. Hanvey was hired to analyze the data from numerous class members to determine how often class members personally experienced customer walkouts or cash register shortages.  The defendants argue that Dr. Hanvey’s report should not be admitted because he did not use generally accepted scientific surveying methods.  The defendants allege that 1) the questionnaire is not a survey that can be extrapolated to the class; 2) the questionnaire was not administered by a neutral third party; 3) Dr. Hanvey did not draw a random sample of employees; and 4) the results have a substantial non-response bias.

The plaintiff states that Dr. Hanvey did employ generally accepted scientific methodologies in his analysis.  In addition, the plaintiff alleges that 1) expert testimony based on questionnaires sent to all members of a class is admissible; 2) the defendants agreed that Plaintiff’s counsel would administer the questionnaire; and 3) Defendants’ disagreement with Dr. Hanvey’s analysis and conclusions is not a basis for excluding his report.  The plaintiff alleges that Dr. Hanvey’s methodology are best performed in cross-examination.

The court opines that it agrees with the plaintiff that any concerns about Dr. Hanvey’s methodology are best addressed on cross-examination.  The court further states that Dr. Harvey described the methodology he used to analyze the questionnaire data and arrive at his conclusions.  In addition, explained the steps he took to ensure that the data was accurate.

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