Statistics Expert Witness Allowed In Part

Plaintiff sued defendant related to the employment of armed guards.  Plaintiff hired a Statistics Expert Witness to provide expert testimony, to which the defendant filed a motion to exclude.  The court granted the motion in part and denied it in part.

Facts:  This case (Risinger v. SOC LLC et al – United States District Court – District of Nevada – September 5th, 2018) is a class action involving a dispute related to the terms of employment for armed guards hired to work in Iraq.  The plaintiff hired Statistics Expert Witness William Buckley to provide testimony in this case.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.

Discussion:  Mr. Buckley’s testimony is built on the results of a survey that was sent out to 935 individuals on a class list provided by defendants.  The defendants argue that Buckley’s report should be excluded because it is not the product of a qualified expert in survey design and statistical analysis.  In addition, they maintain that the survey relies on insufficient data because the surveys are biased and ambiguous and it does not adhere to statistical principles.

The defendants allege that Mr. Buckley does not have any educational or professional background in survey design or sampling and they cite to a recent case in which his testimony was excluded.  The plaintiff argues that Mr. Buckley has been offered as a “damages” expert, not an expert in survey design and sampling.  The plaintiff points to Mr. Buckley’s thirty years’ experience providing financial analysis and quantitative support in litigation, his MBA in finance, his coursework in graduate level, which included marketing classes in survey design, and his on the job training and experience with questionnaires, surveys, sample statistics, and calculating damages.  The court opines that Mr. Buckley is qualified to offer an opinion in this case.

The defendants further argue that Mr. Buckley’s testimony should be excluded because it is based on a flawed survey.  First, the defendants argue that the survey was administered by class counsel and not Mr. Buckley.  The plaintiff states that Mr. Buckley designed all of the questions and that class counsel transcribed them.  The court agrees with the plaintiff, opining that class counsel’s involvement was ministerial.

The defendants further argue that Mr. Buckley’s testimony should be excluded because the cover letter to the survey emphasized the recipients’ financial interest in the survey.  The plaintiff argues that this issue goes to the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility.  The court agrees with the plaintiff.

The defendants last argue that Mr. Buckley’s testimony should be excluded because it is based on a non-representative sample of the class.  The court agrees with the defendants, stating that Mr. Buckley’s testimony will be limited to the damages incurred by the 159 individuals who responded to the survey and cannot impute their responses to the entire class.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of William Buckley is granted in part and denied in part.