Software Engineering Expert Witness Testimony Excluded in Trade Secrets Litigation

Summary: Software Engineering Expert Witness testimony not allowed even though the United States alleged that they provided more expert witness information in discovery.

Facts: This case (United States of America v. Minkkinen et al – United States District Court – Southern District of West Virginia – June 26, 2023) involves a federal criminal indictment related to the theft of trader secrets by former employees of Deloitte. The United States Government alleges that the defendants copied and downloaded numerous pieces of proprietary information and utilized that information during their employment at a competitor.   To support its case, the government hired Software Engineering Expert Witness Walter Overby to provide expert witness testimony.  The defendants filed a motion to exclude Mr. Overby from testifying.

Discussion: The defendants argue that Mr. Overby’s expert witness opinion should be excluded because it does not have any opinions or conclusions and does not provide any expert analysis of source code or intellectual property. The United States reply that certain documents were found in the possession of the defendants will assist the jury in this case.

The judge rules that, even though the United States claims that it provided the defendants with additional information from the expert, that information was not produced in the courts docket.

In addition, the court ruled that Mr. Overby’s expert witness report has only cursory statements about his methodology, and does not contain any conclusions or findings. The court also states that without an opinion, Mr. Overby’s methodology will not assist the jury in determining the origin of the document. Also, the court noted that there are no statements about the significance of the metadata statistics, or even what they mean.

Conclusion: The defendants motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Walter Overby is granted.