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Adani Exports Ltd. v. AMCI Corp.

January 21, 2009

ADANI EXPORTS LTD., PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMCI (EXPORT) CORPORATION, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McVerry, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

Presently before the Court for disposition is the MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE COURT'S NOVEMBER 14, 2008 MEMORANDUM ORDER EXCLUDING THE TESTIMONY OF MARK GLEASON AND REQUEST FOR A DAUBERT HEARING REGARDING MARK GLEASON'S QUALIFICATIONS AS AN EXPERT AND THE ADMISSIBILITY OF HIS TESTIMONY, with brief in support, filed by Defendant, AMCI (Export) Corporation ("AMCI-Export") (Document Nos. 197 and 198, respectively), the brief in opposition filed by Plaintiff (Document No. 199), and the REPLY BRIEF filed by AMCI-Export (Document No. 200).

On January 15, 2009, the Court heard testimony with exhibits and argument on the motion for reconsideration during a four-hour hearing. The parties were represented by counsel who argued the issues skillfully and effectively. Additionally, the Court has reviewed the transcript of the deposition testimony of Mr. Gleason taken on January 9, 2009, by counsel for Adani Exports Ltd. The matter is now ripe for disposition.

Procedural History

On April 15, 2008, AMCI-Export filed a seven-page Expert Report of Mark M. Gleason with several exhibits and appendices. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude the testimony of Mr. Gleason. On November 14, 2008, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order in which the testimony of Mr. Gleason was excluded in its entirety. The Court found that Mr. Gleason possessed the qualifications to present as an expert witness in some areas of accounting and financial analysis; however, the Court determined as follows:

Gleason does not possess, nor does he claim to possess, expertise with regard to the coal industry in general or international trade coal trading in particular. Furthermore, the foundation of many of Gleason's opinions were taken directly from the expert report of Gubbins, without any independent investigation. Accordingly, the Court finds and rules that Gleason is not qualified to testify as an expert in these areas and, as such, his testimony will be precluded.

Not surprisingly, AMCI-Export filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration in which it argues that the Court erred by its failure to have not held a "Daubert" hearing prior to excluding Mr. Gleason's testimony and that AMCI-Export should be "granted the opportunity to establish an evidentiary record to demonstrate that Mr. Gleason is a qualified expert and that he should be permitted to testify to the opinions in his report." Br. at 2.

Attached to AMCI-Export's Motion for Reconsideration was the Affidavit of Mark Gleason dated November 21, 2008, which was obviously prepared in response to the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order of November 14, 2008, and which provided a detailed listing of Mr. Gleason's extensive experience in having provided financial and damage analysis in matters involving the coal and related industries. No similar background information reflecting Mr. Gleason's coal-related experience had previously been disclosed or provided to the Court by submission or deposition testimony.

On December 19, 2008, the Court heard oral argument from counsel by telephone on the Motion for Reconsideration. AMCI-Export reiterated its position that Mr. Gleason was not being offered to provide expert testimony with regard to the technical aspects of the coal industry, but rather his opinions focus on damages analysis and methodology and criticism of Adani's theories and calculations regarding its alleged damages. After discussion with counsel, the Court concluded that Plaintiff would not be prejudiced by a Daubert hearing as no trial date had been scheduled and AMCI-Export had represented that Mr. Gleason would not be altering the opinions as set forth in his expert report.

On January 15, 2009, the Daubert hearing was conducted during which Mr. Gleason was the sole witness.

Legal Discussion

AMCI-Export argues that the Court abused its discretion in not holding a Daubert hearing before excluding the testimony of Mr. Gleason. Although it is true that the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has "long stressed the importance of in limine hearings under Rule 104(a) in making the reliability determination required under Rule 702 and Daubert," it remains black letter law that it is within the discretion of the District Court to determine whether such a hearing is necessary. Padillas v. Stork-Gamco, Inc., 186 F. 3d. 412, 417-18 (3d Cir. 1999). In Padillas, the appellate court determined that the district court abused its discretion in failing to hold a hearing where the evidentiary record before the district court was not sufficient to allow the district court to determine what methodology was used by the expert in arriving at his conclusion. Id. at 418.

In this case, the Court decided that it was not necessary to conduct a hearing under the circumstances because there was an adequate and sufficient factual record. The parties had extensively briefed the issue of the admissibility of expert testimony of Mr. Gleason, the Court had the transcript of the deposition testimony of Mr. Gleason, his curriculum vitae, and his seven-page expert report.

However, in an abundance of caution, and recognizing that AMCI-Export had supplemented the record with information that was not before the Court at the time of its decision to exclude the testimony of Mr. Gleason, the ...


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