Metallurgy Expert Witness Allowed

Plaintiff sued defendants for misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims after they started a competing company.  Plaintiff hired a Metallurgy Expert Witness to provide testimony in this case.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude the testimony of this expert, which was denied by the court.

Facts:  This case (Hunting Energy Services, Inc. v. Kavadas et al – United States District Court – Northern District of Indiana – September 20th, 2018) involves a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of confidentiality and non-compete agreement, and breach of duty of loyalty.  The plaintiff filed suit against former employees after they started a new company to sell pipe for use in horizontal directional drilling in direct competition to the plaintiff.  The plaintiff hied Andrea Romero (Metallurgy Expert Witness) to provide testimony on their behalf.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  Ms. Romero works for the plaintiff as a metallurgical and quality engineer and will testify on a numerous topics related to Hunting’s products and their value. as well as her analysis of the defendants products.  The defendants seek to exclude any opinion about what Ms. Romero believes the defendants intended, what they were thinking, or were trying to do with their products.  Hunting states that Ms. Romero will not be opining on this topic, and thus, the court opines that this argument is moot.

The defendants also argue that Ms. Romero’s testimony is not reliable because she has never attempted to reverse engineer drill pipe, and she has not personally developed a new drill pipe.  In addition, they argue that her opinions have not been tested or peer-reviewed and do not have a known error rate.  The court opines that Ms. Romero has explained how her education and experience  led her to the offered conclusions.  The court opines that she has a bachelor’s degree in materials and metallurgical engineering and has over 20 years  of experience in numerous industrial settings.  Thus, her education and experience provides her with an understanding as to what it takes to manufacture pipe.

In addition, Ms. Romero also explained how certain factors led to her conclusions.  The court opines that her explanations more than suffice to trace her reasoning from her education and experience to her conclusions.  Thus, her testimony is reliable under Daubert.  The court also notes that Ms. Romero opines on a high level of generality that reverse engineering the specification would be costly and time-consuming.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness opinion of Andrea Romero is denied.