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Sdi v. Csc

August 10, 2012

SDI
v.
CSC



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants in part and denies in part SDI's motion to exclude Mr. Douglass's expert testimony [167].

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff System Development Integration LLC's ("SDI") has filed a motion to exclude the expert testimony of Defendant Computer Sciences Corporation ("CSC") damages expert, Mr. W. Davis Douglass, pursuant to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S. Ct. 2786, 125 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1993) and Federal Rule of Evidence 702. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part SDI's motion.

BACKGROUND

SDI filed suit against CSC, alleging breach of subcontract agreement, tortious interference with prospective business advantage, breach of fiduciary duty under a partnership agreement, quantum meruit, and equitable estoppel, all arising from CSC's alleged actions in replacing SDI with another company as a minority business partner under a contract with Exelon. (R. 83, First Am. Compl., passim.) On September 13, 2010, the Court granted CSC's motion for summary judgment with respect to all five claims and entered judgment in CSC's favor. (R. 109, Order.) On April 1, 2011, the Court granted in part and denied in part SDI's motion to alter or amend the judgment after determining that CSC was not entitled to summary judgment on SDI's breach of subcontract agreement and quantum meruit claims. (R. 116, Order.) Those claims remain pending, and a jury trial is scheduled for September 10, 2012.

Courtroom Deputy KF

Initials:

CSC intends to offer Mr. Douglass's damages testimony at trial to rebut the opinions of SDI's damages expert, Mr. Michael Mayer. In his expert report, Mr. Douglass first addresses Mr. Mayer's opinions regarding damages resulting from CSC's alleged breach of fiduciary duty under a partnership agreement (Part A). Next, he addresses Mr. Mayer's opinions regarding SDI's damages for CSC's alleged breach of the subcontract agreement (Part B). Lastly, he opines on Mr. Mayer's opinions regarding SDI's alleged quantum meruit damages (Part C).

LEGAL STANDARD

"The admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and the Supreme Court's opinion in Daubert[.]" Lewis v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., 561 F.3d 698, 705 (7th Cir. 2009). "The district court functions as a gatekeeper with respect to testimony proffered under Rule 702 to ensure that the testimony is sufficiently reliable to qualify for admission." Mihailovich v. Laatsch, 359 F.3d 892, 918 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 147, 119 S. Ct. 1167, 143 L. Ed. 2d 238 (1999)); see also Lapsley v. Xtek, Inc., --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 3055865 (7th Cir. July 27, 2012) ("The purpose of [the Daubert] inquiry is to vet the proposed testimony under Rule 702's requirements that it be "based on sufficient facts or data," use "reliable principles and methods," and "reliably appl[y] the principles and methods to the facts of the case.") (quoting Fed. R. Evid. 702)). Whether to admit expert testimony rests within the discretion of the district court. See Gen. Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 118 S. Ct. 512, 139 L. Ed. 2d 508 (1997); Lapsley, 2012 WL 3055865 ("we 'give the district court wide latitude in performing its gate-keeping function and determining both how to measure the reliability of expert testimony and whether the testimony itself is reliable'") (quoting Bielskis v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., 663 F.3d 887, 894 (7th Cir. 2011)). "The proponent of the expert bears the burden of demonstrating that the expert's testimony would satisfy the Daubert standard" by a preponderance of the evidence. Lewis, 561 F.3d at 705.

Under Rule 702, "[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 methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the ...


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