Two Accident Reconstruction Experts Allowed, Third Expert Allowed in Part.

Plaintiff and defendant were involved in a motor vehicle accident.  Three accident reconstruction experts were hired to provide opinions.

Facts:  This case (Jackson v. Asplundh Constr. Corp. – United States District Court – Eastern District of Missouri – Eastern Division – September 8th, 2016) involves a motor vehicle accident between the defendant (Rogers), an employee of the other defendant (Asplundh) and the plaintiff (Jackson).  Rogers was operating a bucket truck when he was involved in the accident with Jackson.  Both parties hired accident reconstruction expert witnesses to assist in proving their cases.  Motions to exclude the testimony of the respective witnesses were subsequently filed as well.

Discussion:  The defendants seek to exclude the expert witness testimony of William Hampton because his opinions do not contain knowledge to assist the trier of fact, not based on sufficient facts, not the product of reliable methods, and that the probative value is outweighed by prejudice.

The plaintiff’s argue that defendants’ expert Francis Oldham should be excluded because he does not discuss Rogers’s vision issues, and that the testing on Long Island was not accurate, not reliable, and would not aid the trier of fact.

Last, the plaintiffs move exclude 7 opinions of defendant’s expert Stephen Chewning because he failed to ensure that the testing methods on Long Island were similar to those of the accident, were cumulative of the opinions offered by Mr. Oldham, and that he should not have relied on Mr. Oldham’s opinions because those opinions are more prejudicial than probative.

Regarding Mr. Hampton, the defendants argue that he did not use any particular principles of methodologies to form his opinions.  The court disagreed, stating that his methods, and calculations qualify him as an expert in this case.  In addition, the court opined that Mr. Hampton has more than enough experience to qualify as an expert in accident reconstruction.    The defendants also argue that Mr. Hampton’s tenth opinion that Mr. Rogers’s vision problems more likely than not contributed to the crash should not be allowed as Mr. Hampron is not an expert in the matters of vision.  The court agreed and granted this part of the motion.

The plaintiff seeks to exclude the expert opinion of Francis Oldham.  First, they state that Mr. Oldham did not read Rogers’s second deposition regard his vision issues.  Since Rogers’s vision has no effect on Mr. Oldham’s opinions, this part of the motion was denied.  In addition, Mr. Oldham was not required to rely on tests done by other experts in the current case, but the court again opined that this part of the motion would be denied.  In addition, any arguments regarding the conditions during the accident recreation go to the weight of the testimony, not their admissibility.

The plaintiff also seeks to exclude 7 opinions of Stephen Chewning because they are based on inadequate unsound methodologies, and that they are cumulative to those of Mr. Oldham.   Because the court found that Mr. Oldham’s opinions were reliable, the argument that Mr. Chewning’s opinions should be inadmissible are moot.  In addition, the objection based on unsound methodologies go to the weight of the opinion, not their admissibility.

Conclusion:  The motions to exclude the testimony of Mr. Oldham and Mr. Chewning are denied.  The motion to exclude the expert testimony of Mr. Hampton is denied in part and granted in part.