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Neal v. Fort

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

January 20, 2017

WILL NEAL, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN FORT, Defendant.

          Newbern Magistrate Judge.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

          ALETA A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the court is Plaintiff Will Neal, Jr.'s Daubert Motion to Exclude the Testimony of David Huskey. (Docket No. 35.) For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's Motion will be GRANTED.

         I. Background

         This is a personal injury case centered on a car wreck involving Plaintiff and Defendant in the early morning hours of January 3, 2015. The parties fundamentally disagree as to the cause of the accident. In support of his version of the events, Defendant disclosed David G. Huskey, a Senior Forensics Engineer, as an expert witness and reserved the right to use Mr. Huskey at the trial. (Docket No. 42, p. 2.) Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(B), Mr. Huskey prepared a written report titled the Accident Reconstruction Engineering Report (the “Report”) which contains his opinion on a variety of issues but which focuses primarily on the cause of the wreck (Docket No. 35-1). Defense counsel provided Mr. Huskey with statements made by the “involved drivers” [Plaintiff, Defendant, and a witness], the police crash report, and photographs of the involved vehicles. (Id. at p. 3.) The Report contains four sections: Description of the Traffic Crash, Summary of the Drivers' Statements, Analysis of the Traffic Crash, and Summary of Conclusions. (Id.) The Description of the Traffic Crash recapitulates the information contained in the police report. (Id. at pp. 3-4.) As the title indicates, the Summary of the Drivers' Statements sets forth the Plaintiff and Defendant's proffered versions of the incident. (Id. at p. 5.) The heart of the Report is the Analysis of the Traffic Crash, in which Mr. Huskey provides a step-by-step breakdown of how he believes the accident occurred, along with photographs of the parties' damaged vehicles and two diagrams. (Id. at pp. 5-8.) Mr. Huskey's reconstruction analysis essentially concurs with Defendant's allegations. The Summary of Conclusions reads as follows:

The incident occurred on January 3, 2015 at 3:55 a.m. on Interstate 65 near mile marker 75 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Impact occurred as Vehicle 2, the GMC Safari, was northbound on Interstate 65 and crossed into the path of Vehicle 1, the Acura MDX, which was also northbound on Interstate 65.
The initial impact occurred when the right front corner of Vehicle 1 struck the left front side of Vehicle 2.
This impact is consistent with the police report, Driver 1 and the witness.
Impact and loss of control did not occur in the rear end manner as suggested by Mr. Neal.

(Id. at p. 8.)

         After Mr. Huskey's Report was disclosed, he was provided with supplemental materials, including Plaintiff's deposition, the deposition of another witness to the accident, and Defendant's interrogatory responses to certain questions regarding Defendant's recollection of the facts. (Docket No. 35, pp. 3-4.) The additional materials did not alter Mr. Huskey's opinion. (Id.)

         Plaintiff now moves to exclude Mr. Huskey's Report, arguing that it fails to satisfy the standards of reliability and relevance set forth in Federal Rule of Evidence 702 as well as Daubert and its progeny. (Docket No. 35.) Plaintiff also asserts that the court should not permit an amendment of the Report, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c)(1). (Id. at pp. 13-14.) Defendant filed a Response, contending that the Report is both reliable and relevant and thus should not be excluded. (Docket No. 42.)

         II. ...


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