The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge
Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Expert Designation. For the reasons stated below, this Motion [#8] is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in PART.
On April 7, 2008, Plaintiff Valerie Essebo filed this lawsuit, alleging that she was terminated in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim. She also has a pending claim regarding benefits under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, which is being litigated before the Illinois Industrial Commission.
On December 12, 2008 Essebo informed Defendant Tyson Foods Inc. ("Tyson") by letter that she intended to call Nancy Addae, an attorney, as a "controlled expert witness to testify regarding "the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees when employee seeks benefits under the Worker's Compensation Act."
On December 18, 2008, Tyson wrote to Essebo and explained that her expert designation did not comply with Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 26(a)(2). On December 23, 2008, Essebo responded and served Tyson with Essebo's report.
Tyson argues that Addae is not a proper expert and that Essebo is offering this expert to opine about legal conclusions, including whether Tyson terminated Essebo in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim, and contends that an expert cannot offer an opinion regarding legal conclusions. Tyson further argues that Addae will testify regarding whether Tyson otherwise violated the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act by discontinuing Essebo's total temporary disability benefits, which Tyson contends has nothing to do with the matters alleged in the lawsuit. Finally, Tyson argues that Addae will opine that Essebo's former treating physician did not properly diagnose or treat her, and Tyson argues that that is not relevant and that this expert it not qualified to offer medical opinions.
The Court's role in determining the admissibility of expert testimony is that of a gatekeeper. General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136 (1997); Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). In performing this role, the Court must determine whether the expert testimony in question meets two essential requirements:
(1) it must be based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge and (2) it must assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or determining a fact in issue. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592; Fed.R.Evid. 702.
In Smith v. Ford Motor Company, 215 F.3d 713, 719 (7th Cir. 2000), the Seventh Circuit stated:
In analyzing the reliability of proposed expert testimony, the role of the court is to determine whether the expert is qualified in the relevant field and to examine the methodology the expert has used in reaching [her] conclusions....
A court's reliability analysis does not end with its conclusion that an expert is qualified to testify about a given matter. Even "[a] supremely qualified expert cannot waltz into the courtroom and render opinions unless those opinions are based upon some scientific method." Clark v. Takata Corp., 192 F.3d 750, 759 n.5 (7th Cir.1999). The court's gatekeeping function focuses on an examination of the expert's methodology; the soundness of the factual underpinnings of the expert's analysis and the correctness of the expert's conclusions based on that analysis are factual matters to be determined by the trier of fact. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595.
In her Response to Tyson's Motion to Strike, Essebo agreed to "redact sentences in Nancy Addae's report on the ultimate conclusions and limit her report testimony as shown in the redacted report." The Court has reviewed ...