Plaintiffs sued defendants in response to the removal of a monument. Defendants hired a Law & Legal Expert Witness to provide expert witness testimony. Plaintiffs filed a motion to exclude, which was granted by the court.
Facts: This case (Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter et al v. Nirenberg et al – United States District Court – Western District of Texas – October 18th, 2018) involves the removal of a confederate monument from a public park in San Antonio. The plaintiffs sued the city of San Antonio, the Mayor of the City of San Antonio, and the individual City Council members who voted for the removal of the monument. The defendants have hired Law & Legal Expert Witness Charles Zech to provide expert witness testimony. The plaintiffs have filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.
Discussion: Zech is a partner at a law firm and in charge of the firm’s municipal practice. He has over 17 years of experience in municipal law advising cities on regulatory, due process, first amendment, and government function issues. The plaintiffs argue that Mr. Zech should not be allowed to testify because his opinions are inadmissible legal opinions on the ultimate legal issues in this case.
The defendants state that they agree that Mr. Zech should not be allowed to testify on certain legal issues, but that he should be permitted to testify on one matter – the fact that the plaintiffs received adequate due process before the removal of the monument. The defendant states that this testimony is a fact issue, not a legal issue.
The court opines that Mr. Zech’s due process opinions will not help the trier of fact understand the evidence in this case or determine a fact issue and invade the province of the judge and jury. The court continues by opining that the court is responsible for instructing the jury on the law governing this case, not Mr. Zech. Thus, the court opines that it will not allow Mr. Zech to testify as a legal expert on the contours of federal law on procedural due process or as to what standards should apply in this case.
In addition, the court states that the majority of Mr. Zech’s expert opinions are not helpful to the jury as they restate facts that any layperson would be able to understand without the help of an expert.
Last, the court opines that it will not allow Mr. Zech to opine on the ultimate issue in this case that the plaintiff’s procedural due process rights were satisfied.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Charles Zech is granted.