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Pacheco v. Johnson

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

July 25, 2017

JOSE OSMIN CALDERON PACHECO, Plaintiff,
v.
WILL JOHNSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge.

         Pending before the court is Motion in Limine #1, filed by defendant Officer Will Johnson, regarding the introduction of expert testimony by Dr. Michael Lyman (Docket No. 306), to which the plaintiff, Jose Osmin Calderon Pacheco, has filed a Response in opposition (Docket No. 344). For the reasons discussed herein, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This action centers around allegations that the defendant, while on duty as a police officer in Springfield, TN, unreasonably used excessive force against the plaintiff, violating the plaintiff's constitutional rights and resulting in severe personal injury. The plaintiff has proffered the expert report of Dr. Michael Lyman, whose qualifications include over 40 years of working as a law enforcement agent, criminal investigator, police trainer, and college professor in the field of policing. (Docket No. 333-8.) He has researched, taught, and published in the area of police procedures and has worked as a police instructor, training officers and officer candidates on police techniques and procedures. The opinions presented in Dr. Lyman's report include the following:

1) Based on the plaintiff's version of events, the defendant's use of force was unreasonable, excessive, and unnecessary, because the plaintiff had his hands in the air and was not holding a weapon at the time he was shot;
2) The defendant's detention of the plaintiff was unreasonable because:
a) video evidence from the scene shows that the plaintiff was seated in his vehicle, parked at the curb in front of the plaintiff's home and, therefore, there was no reason for the defendant to have approached the plaintiff, and
b) the defendant testified that his suspicion was raised by the fact that the plaintiff stepped out of his vehicle when the patrol car pulled up behind him although, according to Dr. Lyman, that is reasonable and a sign of courtesy to the defendant, given the plaintiff's identity as a Hispanic man; and
3) The City of Springfield ratified the misconduct of the defendant.

Dr. Lyman's expert report also contains a general discussion of guidelines regarding use-of-force procedures by police officers.

         On July 7, 2017, the defendant filed the pending motion, seeking to exclude the introduction of any testimony from Dr. Lyman on the grounds that 1) Dr. Lyman is not qualified to offer his opinions under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589-90 (1993), and 2) Dr. Lyman's opinions are impermissible legal conclusions. (Docket No. 306.)

         On July 21, 2017, the plaintiff filed a Response in opposition, conceding that Dr. Lyman may not offer opinions as to the ultimate issues in this case (whether the defendant acted reasonably), but arguing that Dr. Lyman is qualified to opine on standards of police use of force and that he may opine as to whether certain versions of events comport with or depart from the appropriate standard.

         LEGAL ...


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