Petroleum Engineering Expert Witness Testimony Not Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant related to personal injury which occurred on board the defendant’s vessel.  The defendant hired a Petroleum Engineering Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court granted the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (Angelle v. Spartan Offshore Drilling LLC – United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana – July 31st, 2019) involves a personal injury case.  The plaintiff alleges that he sustained injuries while aboard a jack-up drilling vessel which is owned, operated, and controlled by the defendant.  The plaintiff alleges that he tripped on a packer stem sticking out a pallet and fell forward into a hand rail, lost his footing and fell to the vessel deck.  The plaintiff claims that the incident caused numerous injuries and that these injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligent failure to act with due care under the circumstances.  The defendant hired Petroleum Engineering Expert Witness Kerry Redmann to provide expert testimony.  The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The plaintiff argues that Mr. Redmann’s opinions will not assist the trier of fact in providing a judgment.  In addition, the plaintiff states that Mr. Redmann’s opinions are not based on specialized knowledge, do not rise above the level of common sense, and constitute impermissible legal conclusions.

In one opinion, Mr. Redmann states that the plaintiff’s accident took place in a work area, that the plaintiff should have known he was in a work area, and should have been paying “the utmost attention” to his surroundings.  The court notes that this opinion is a common sense conclusion that does not require expert explanation and that the court opinions that it will exclude this opinion of Mr. Redmann’s.

In another opinion, Mr. Redmann alleges that the work area was sufficiently lit for any conscientious worker to navigate.  The court opines that it is capable of viewing the pictures of the area taken under similar conditions to when the incident occurred and that Mr. Redmann’s opinion in this area is not relevant, helpful, or necessary here.  Thus, this part of his opinion will be excluded.

In addition, the plaintiff argued that some of Mr. Redmann’s opinions are legal conclusions and should be excluded.  The court agrees, stating that these opinions are legal opinions and will not assist the trier of fact in rendering its findings of fact.

The plaintiff also argues that some of Mr. Redmann’s opinions are nothing more than resuscitations of deposition testimony and do not provide assistance to the trier of fact.  The court agrees and excludes these opinions from testimony.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Kerry Redmann is granted.