Plaintiff sued defendant related to royalty payments of sales proceeds of natural gas production. The plaintiffs hired an Oil & Gas Expert Witness to provide testimony. The defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying. The court denied the motion.
Facts: This case (Ulibarri v. Southland Royalty Company, LLC – United States District Court – District of New Mexico – April 3rd, 2019) involves a dispute over the calculation of royalty payments. The plaintiffs allege that the defendant consistently underpaid royalties that it owes on the sales proceeds of natural gas produced under lease agreements by not basing payments on the actual sale proceeds of the gas products. The plaintiffs hired Oil & Gas Expert Witness Terry A. Moores to provide testimony. The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.
Discussion: The defendant alleges that Mr. Moores’s testimony should be excluded for three reasons. First, the defendant argues that the plaintiff’s failed to comply with expert deadlines with respect to the disclosure of Mr. Moores’s expert report. Second, the defendants argue that Mr. Moores’s opinions are not reliable. Third, the defendant argues that Mr. Moores’s report is not relevant to the class certification issue because it does not link the royalty owners paid by the defendant to the owners identified from his title examination. The defendant does not challenge Mr. Moores’s qualifications.
The court opines that Mr. Moores is qualified as an expert in the field of oil and gas title examination and land work. In addition, the court opines that Mr. Moores’s report and testimony will be relevant to its determination of whether class certification is appropriate. The court further states that the plaintiffs clearly state how their counsel utilized Mr. Moores’s findings to cross-reference the defendant’s royalty accounting data and identify putative class members.
Also, the court also rules that Mr. Moores’s opinions and report are reliable enough to be admitted as expert testimony under Rule 702. The court opines that Mr. Moores’s report lays out the facts and data upon which it is based and the principals and methods he applies in conducting his research. The court does note that the defendant has raised a few compelling concerns about the reliability of Mr. Moores’s findings, and that the plaintiffs must be prepared to address these questions of adequate documentation at the class certification hearing. The court also opines that any arguments by the defendant go to the weight of the evidence, not their admissibility.
Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Terry A. Moores is denied.