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Pike v. Premier Transporation & Warehousing, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 8, 2016

CARLOS R. PIKE, Plaintiff,
v.
PREMIER TRANSPORTATION & WAREHOUSING, INC., ET AL. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARY M. ROWLAND, United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Carlos R. Pike brings this personal injury action against Defendants Premier Transportation & Warehousing, Inc. and Daniel M. Duben, Sr. (“Duben”), alleging that Duben was negligent in operating a semi-trailer truck. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and this case is set for trial on November 14, 2016.

         Plaintiff filed a Motion to Exclude Causation Opinions of C. Brian Tanner (“Motion”). (Dkt. 50). Defendants retained Mr. Tanner to analyze the accident and the movement of Mr. Pike in his car to determine whether his exposure in the accident was consistent with causing his reported injuries. (50-4). Plaintiff does not object to Mr. Tanner testifying at trial or to his qualifications as a biomechanical engineer. (53 at 2). Instead, Plaintiff seeks to bar testimony by Mr. Tanner about the cause of Plaintiff's injuries. (50 at 3; 53 at 2).

         For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.

         A. Legal Standard

         Under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., 509 U.S. 579, 589, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 2795 (1993), the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 must be met before an expert can testify. As the Seventh Circuit has explained:

“(t)he purpose of the Daubert inquiry is to scrutinize proposed expert witness testimony to determine if it has ‘the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field' so as to be deemed reliable enough to present to a jury. Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 152, 119 S.Ct. 1167, 143 L.Ed.2d 238 (1999). A Daubert inquiry is not designed to have the district judge take the place of the jury to decide ultimate issues of credibility and accuracy. If the proposed expert testimony meets the Daubert threshold of relevance and reliability, the accuracy of the actual evidence is to be tested before the jury.” Lapsley v. Xtek, Inc., 689 F.3d 802, 805 (7th Cir. 2012).

         District courts have broad discretion to determine the admissibility of expert testimony. EEOC v. DHL Express (USA), Inc., No. 10 C 6139, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135083, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 30, 2016). The party seeking to admit the expert has the burden of showing their expert meets the requirements of Rule 702 and Daub-ert. Id. at *4. Because “there are many different kinds of experts, and many different kinds of expertise, . . .the gatekeeping inquiry must be ‘tied to the facts' of a particular case.” Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 150 (1999) (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 591). Courts review each conclusion of the expert individually in relation to the expert's education, skill, and training. Gayton v. McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 617 (7th Cir. 2010).

         B. Mr. Tanner's Opinions

         Defendants asked Mr. Tanner to “perform an analysis of the accident to determine the speed change and acceleration of the Nissan as a result of the contact by the truck (and) of the kinematics and kinetics of Mr. Pike within the Nissan to determine whether his exposure in the accident was consistent with causing his reported injuries.” (50-4 at 4).[1] Mr. Tanner's report (the “Report”) contains his conclusions. Id. at 10-11. Of Mr. Tanner's conclusions, Plaintiff objects to the following “causation opinions” (50 at 4-5):

3. The longitudinal and lateral change in the speed for the Nissan in the subject accident was less than 2 miles per hour.
4. The maximum average acceleration of the Nissan in any direction during the impact was well below 1 g.
5. There is no mechanism in the subject accident to cause any acute injury to the knees or any aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
6. There is no mechanism from either direct contact or from over extension or stretching that could cause an acute ...

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