Workers Compensation Insurance Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant related to a workers’ compensation and employers’ liability insurance policy.  Defendant hired a Workers Compensation Insurance Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court denied the motion to exclude.

Facts: This case (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Jet Midwest Technik – United States District Court – Western District of Missouri – January 17th, 2019) involves a workers’ compensation and employers’ liability insurance policy issued to the defendant.  The defendant has hired Workers Compensation Insurance Expert Witness Paul Griffin to provide an opinion on the interpretation and application of the residual market rules.  The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude the testimony of this expert.

Discussion:  The plaintiff argues that Griffin’s opinions should be excluded because he does not have specialized knowledge and subject matter competence to assist the trier of fact in this case.  The plaintiff alleges that Griffin is not qualified to render expert opinions in this case because he lacks any Missouri experience, education, or knowledge with respect to audits.  The plaintiff continues by stating that Griffin’s only relevant knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education was when he worked as a National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) inspector decades ago.

The court notes that Griffin started his career with NCCI in 1986 as a classification inspector. Since 2009, Griffin has been a consultant for Workers Compensation Consultants in which he represents employers experiencing inaccuracies in workers compensation billings and audits regarding workers compensation classifications and misclassifications. The court opines that Griffin is qualified to render an opinion as his opinion is based upon numerous types of evidence which are set forth in his reports.

The plaintiff also argues that Griffin’s testimony should be excluded because he has not reviewed any residual market application or deposition testimony, he does not know how the initial estimated premium was calculated, or what documents were provided to the plaintiff at the final audit.  The court notes that the plaintiff contests the factual basis of Griffin’s testimony.

The court opines that it cannot conclude that Griffin’s opinion is so fundamentally unsupported that it will not assist the jury.  Thus, the court will deny the plaintiff’s motion to exclude.  The court also opines that the plaintiff has a responsibility to examine the factual basis of Griffin’s opinion during cross-examination.

The plaintiff also argues that Griffin’s testimony should be excluded because he has no opinions on whether the defendant owes additional premium or how much, which the plaintiff alleges are the ultimate issues for the trier of fact to decide.  The court disagrees and denies this part of the motion.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Paul Griffin is denied.