United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DONALD J. KRAUSS et al., Plaintiffs,
IRIS USA, INC. et al., Defendants.
E.K. PRATTER United States District Judge.
negligence and breach of contract case is no child's
play. It arises out of (i) a contract between Fightback and
IRIS USA, Inc. for the purchase of a large shipment of LEGO
baseplates; (ii) the resulting shipment and delivery
by C.H. Robinson and its agent KV Load; and (iii) injuries
suffered by Donald J. Krauss, a volunteer at Fightback, when
the pallets holding the LEGO baseplates collapsed and fell on
Mr. Krauss during the unloading process. KV Load and C.H.
Robinson settled with the plaintiffs and are no longer
parties to the case.
There are five motions pending before the
Court. The Court will:
(1) Deny IRIS' Daubert motion because IRIS filed
this motion eight months after the deadline and has not made
a showing of excusable neglect;
(2) Grant in part and deny in part IRIS' motion to
preclude evidence of damages allegedly sustained by Ms.
Brillman, JC Rehab, and CGB Rehab;
(3) Grant in part and deny in part IRIS' motion to
preclude evidence related to Mr. Krauss' alleged
(4) Grant IRIS' motion to preclude evidence concerning
Mr. Krauss' loss of income from his inability to harvest
trees because such damages are too speculative; and
(5) Grant Mr. Krauss' motion to preclude evidence
concerning Mr. Krauss' 1995 criminal conviction because
Mr. Krauss' 24-year-old conviction is neither relevant to
this case nor admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence
facts of this case were set forth at length in the
Court's Memorandum addressing a previous motion to
dismiss and will not be recounted here. See November
22, 2017 Memorandum, at 2-4. The Court addresses the pending
motions in the order listed above.
IRIS' Daubert Motion
seeks to preclude presentation by the plaintiffs'
logistics expert, Ronald D. Grossman. Mr. Grossman, who has
over 40 years of experience in warehousing and distribution,
shipping, transportation, and global supply chain activities,
submitted a report stating that IRIS failed to meet the
standard of care by, among other things, using EURO pallets
(as opposed to American Pallets) and double-stacking the
pallets. IRIS argues that Mr. Grossman's testimony should
be precluded because his opinions are not based on a
scientific methodology, he does not define the standard of
care, and he offers legal conclusions. Because IRIS'
Daubert motion is eight months late, and IRIS did
not make any showing of excusable neglect, the Court denies
this motion as untimely.
when a deadline has passed, the Court may retroactively
extend it for good cause when a party has filed a motion
showing excusable neglect. Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B). To access
this rule, “a party must make a formal motion for
extension of time and the district court must make a finding
of excusable neglect.” Drippe v. Tobelinski,
604 F.3d 778, 785 (3d Cir. 2010). In evaluating whether
“excusable neglect” exists, the Court must
consider “all relevant circumstances surrounding the
party's omission, ” including: (1) the danger of
prejudice; (2) the length of the delay and its potential
impact on judicial proceedings; (3) the reason for the delay,
including whether it was within the reasonable control of the
movant; and (4) whether the movant acted in good faith.
Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd.
P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993).
to the Court's Second Amended Scheduling Order, any
Daubert motion needed to be filed by February 12,
2018. IRIS did not so. Instead, on October 26, 2018, over
eight months after the Daubert motion deadline, IRIS
filed a Daubert motion thinly disguised as a motion
in limine. IRIS did not file a motion for extension
of time showing excusable neglect. When the Court called
counsel to task on this point during oral argument, IRIS'
counsel conceded that he has “no basis for excusable
neglect.” Absent any effort to show excusable neglect,
the Court cannot accept IRIS' untimely Daubert
motion. See Drippe, 604 F.3d at 784-85
(“‘[T]here is no discretion to grant a
post-deadline extension absent a motion and showing of
excusable neglect.'”) (quoting Jones v. Cent.
Bank, 161 F.3d 311, 314 n.2 (5th Cir. 1998)). Therefore,
the Court denies IRIS' Daubert motion as
IRIS' Motion to Preclude Evidence of Damages Allegedly
Sustained by Ms. Brillman, JC Rehab, and CGB Rehab
also moves to preclude the plaintiffs from “presenting
evidence of damages allegedly sustained by Ms. Brillman, JC
Rehab, and CGB Rehab [collectively, the “ancillary
plaintiffs”], because there is no direct link between
the [ancillary plaintiffs'] claimed damages and any
alleged conduct of IRIS.” IRIS' Mot. to Preclude
Certain Economic Damage Evidence Asserted by Donald J. Krauss
and Fightback for Autism as Assignees, at 4. In other words,
IRIS argues that the plaintiffs should be precluded from
claiming these damages because they were not proximately
caused by and are too remote from IRIS' conduct.
alleged damages at issue include:
(1) Expenses paid by Ms. Brillman and CGB Rehab for Mr.
Krauss' medical care and therapy equipment provided to
(2) Expenses paid by JC Rehab associated with storing the
broken LEGO baseplates for Fightback;
(3) Expenses paid by Ms. Brillman for contracting work Mr.
Krauss could no longer perform at Ms. Brillman's
(4) Expenses paid by Ms. Brillman for Mr. Krauss'
supplemental health insurance premiums.
Court will deny IRIS' motion with respect to the first
two categories of damages because these claims belong to Mr.
Krauss and Fightback respectively, and there are no proximate
cause issues. However, the Court will preclude the plaintiffs
from pursuing damages for the contracting work done at Ms.
Brillman's properties and for Mr. Krauss'
supplemental health insurance premiums because these alleged
damages are too remote from IRIS' alleged negligent
Mr. Krauss' Medical Expenses and Therapy
argues that Mr. Krauss cannot recover for his medical
expenses and therapy equipment paid for by Ms. Brillman and
CGB Rehab because the claimed payments “are too remote
from the alleged incident.” Id. at 14. IRIS,
however, confuses which plaintiff is-and always has
been-entitled to claim recovery for Mr. Krauss' medical
expenses and therapy equipment: Mr. Krauss himself. Because
IRIS' misunderstanding stems from this case's
admittedly cumbersome procedural history, the Court recounts
a series of events dating back to the plaintiffs' third
third amended complaint, the plaintiffs asserted that
IRIS' negligence caused Mr. Krauss to “incur
significant medical expenses, which were reasonably
foreseeable.” Third Amended Complaint, at ¶ 86.
Nevertheless, the plaintiffs also confusingly claimed that
IRIS' negligence caused “Ms. Brillman's
economic damages, ” including, “paying for Mr.
Krauss' medical expenses.” Id. at ¶
87. Similarly, the plaintiffs alleged that IRIS'