United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
SCHANZLE-HASKINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Canton Marine
Towing Co., Inc.'s (Canton Marine) Motion to Exclude the
Expert Testimony of Dr. Rebecca Summary (d/e 34) (Motion).
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.
Kori Whitchurch worked for Canton Marine as a deckhand in
August 2016. Whitchurch alleges that he injured his shoulder
while working on Canton Marine's vessel. Whitchurch
brought this action for damages under the Jones Act, 46
U.S.C. § 30104, and general maritime law. See
Verified Complaint in Admiralty (d/e 1).
disclosed in discovery the expert opinions of Dr. Rebecca
Summary, Ph.D. Dr. Summary is an economist. Dr. Summary
performed a present value study of Whitchurch's lost
earning potential as a result of his injuries.
Motion, attached Exhibit A, Expert Report of Dr.
Summary (Report). Whitchurch was 37 years old at the
time of the Accident. Dr. Summary assumed Whitchurch could
earn his current wages at the time of the Accident for the
next 30 years until he was 67 years old. Dr. Summary assumed
that at the time of the Accident, Whitchurch worked a 7 days
on, 4 days off schedule and earned $140 per workday. Dr.
Summary calculated the gross annual earnings on such a
schedule to be $32, 480.00. Dr. Summary calculated the gross
employer-paid fringe benefits to be $10, 151.00.
Summary determined an appropriate discount rate by
calculating the difference between the average interest rates
on 3-month, 6-month, and 10-year Treasury notes and bills
(5.4%) from 1976 to 2016 and the historic growth rate of
earnings from the same period (3.8%) to reach a discount rate
of 1.6%. Dr. Summary multiplied the annual gross salary times
the number of years and months from the time of her report,
June 30, 2017, until Whitchurch would become 67 years old,
and then divided by the discount rate of 1.6 to calculate a
present value of lost future earning capacity to be $609,
607.00. Dr. Summary performed a similar calculation to
estimate the lost fringe benefits to be $213, 413.00.
Summary used federal and state tax tables to calculate
Whitchurch's net after-tax income to be $28, 996.00. Dr.
Summary calculated the amount of Whitchurch's after-tax
income and fringe benefits lost from the date of the Accident
until June 30, 2017 to be $33, 331.00.
Marine moves to bar her opinions as inadmissible under the
principles announced in Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, (1993), and
codified in Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
Rule of Evidence 702 provides:
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