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GSI Group, Inc. v. Sukup Manufacturing Co.

November 20, 2008

THE GSI GROUP, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUKUP MANUFACTURING CO., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Sukup Manufacturing Company's (Sukup) Motion to Strike New Expert Disclosures of the GSI Group, Inc. and Memorandum of Law in Support (d/e 808) (Motion). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.

On October 30, 2006, Plaintiff GSI Group, Inc. (GSI), provided Sukup with the expert reports of David Morrison, Burl Shuler, and Randy Sheley. GSI provided Sukup with rebuttal reports from these three men on December 6, 2006. GSI, however, failed to list these three men as experts in its formal Rule 26(a) disclosures. Sukup accepted the reports and has no quarrel with the content of these reports, or the ability of these three men to testify regarding their opinions in these three reports. Motion, ¶ 5. Sukup subsequently deposed these three men about their expert opinions.

On September 29, 2008, GSI sent Sukup a supplemental disclosure under Rule 26(a) that disclosed these three men as expert witnesses. The disclosure stated concerning these three men:

Name: David Morrison--Expert Witness

Mr. Morrison is a GSI employee, he has submitted expert reports and has been deposed.

Name: Burl Shuler--Expert Witness

Mr. Shuler is a GSI employee, he has submitted an expert report, and he has been deposed.

Name: Randy Sheley--Expert Witness

Mr. Sheley is a GSI employee, he has submitted an expert report, and he has been deposed.

Motion, Exhibit A, The GSI Group, Inc.'s Fifth Supplemental Disclosures Under Rule 26(a)(1) (emphasis in original). Sukup asks the Court to strike these disclosures.

ANALYSIS

GSI had an obligation to disclose these individuals as experts and provide a report containing a complete statement of their opinions. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2). GSI clearly knew in 2006 that these three men were expert witnesses, but failed to formally list them on its Rule 26 disclosures. The failure requires the Court to bar these three men from testifying at trial unless the failure was harmless or substantially justified. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1).

In this case, the failure was harmless because GSI supplied the witnesses' expert reports in a timely fashion and made them available for expert depositions in a timely fashion. Sukup, thus, had all of the substantive information it would require about these witnesses in a timely fashion. Sukup even concedes that the reports were sufficient and has no objections to the witnesses testifying regarding their ...


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