United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
KAROLINE MEHALCHICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action concerning property damage arising out of a fire in
June 2017 that occurred in a vacant vacation home in
Tannersville, Pennsylvania, after it had been cleaned.
Pending before the Court are two motions filed by Defendant,
IDC Management Company d/b/a M&M Services. First,
Defendant has filed a motion to preclude the Plaintiff from
offering expert opinion in advance of trial in this matter,
and the Court now addresses this motion brought pursuant to
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509
U.S. 579, 595 (1993) and Federal Rule of Evidence 702, to
exclude all of the expert testimony and written reports of
Robert Buckley. (Doc. 33). Defendant has also filed a motion
for summary judgment, submitting that it is entitled to
summary judgment due to the speculative nature of
Buckley's testimony. (Doc. 31). For the following
reasons, the Court will deny both motions.
Federal Rule 702 and Expert Testimony
courts are vested with broad inherent authority to manage
their cases, which carries with it the discretion and
authority to rule on motions in limine prior to
trial. See Luce v. United States, 469 U.S.
38, 41 n.4 (1984); In re Japanese Elec. Prods. Antitrust
Litig., 723 F.2d 238, 260 (3d Cir. 1983) (noting that
the court exercises its discretion to rule in limine on
evidentiary issues “in appropriate cases”),
rev'd on other grounds sub nom., Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574
(1986). Courts may exercise this discretion in order to
ensure that juries are not exposed to unfairly prejudicial,
confusing, or irrelevant evidence. United States v.
Romano, 849 F.2d 812, 815 (3d Cir. 1988). Courts may
also do so in order to “narrow the evidentiary issues
for trial and to eliminate unnecessary trial
interruptions.” Bradley v. Pittsburgh Bd. of
Educ., 913 F.2d 1064, 1069 (3d Cir. 1990) (citation
Rule of Evidence 702 governs the admissibility of expert
testimony and requires an expert witness to have
“specialized knowledge” regarding the area of
testimony. Rule 702 provides:
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education may testify in the form of
an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702.
702 has three major requirements: (1) the proffered witness
must be an expert, i.e., must be qualified; (2) the expert
must testify about matters requiring scientific, technical or
specialized knowledge[, i.e. reliability]; and (3)
the expert's testimony must assist the trier of fact[,
i.e., fit].” United States v. Schiff,
602 F.3d 152, 172 (3d Cir. 2010) (alterations in original)
(quoting Pineda v. Ford Motor Co., 520 F.3d 237, 244
(3d Cir. 2008)).
general, the Federal Rules of Evidence embody a strong
preference for admitting any evidence that may assist the
trier of fact. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Moreover, Rule 702 in
particular “has a liberal policy of
admissibility.” Kannankeril v. Terminix Int'l,
Inc., 128 F.3d 802, 806 (3d Cir. 1997).
an expert is qualified if “the witness possess[es]
specialized expertise.” Schneider ex rel. Estate of
Schneider v. Fried, 320 F.3d 396, 404 (3d Cir. 2003).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
interprets the qualification requirement liberally, and notes
that “a broad range of knowledge, skills, and training
qualify an expert as such.” In re Paoli R.R. Yard
PCB Litig.,35 F.3d 717, 741 (3d Cir. 1994);
Betterbox Commc'ns Ltd. v. BB Techs., Inc., 300
F.3d 325, ...