United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS DRYING FACILITY ASSET
HOLDINGS, LLC, SHALE SUPPORT SERVICES, LLC, AND LINFIELD,
HUNTER & JUNIS, INC.'S JOINT MOTION  TO EXCLUDE
OR LIMIT THE TESTIMONY OF PLAINTIFFS' PROFFERED EXPERT,
JAMIE SAXON, UNDER FEDERAL RULE OF EVIDENCE 702 AND
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is the Joint Motion  of Defendants Drying
Facility Asset Holdings, LLC, Shale Support Services, LLC,
and Linfield, Hunter & Junis, Inc., to Exclude or Limit
the Testimony of Plaintiffs' Proffered Expert, Jamie
Saxon, under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and
Daubert. This Motion is fully briefed. Having
considered the Motion, related pleadings, the record, and
relevant legal authority, the Court is of the opinion that
Defendants' Motion should be granted, and Jamie Saxon
will be prohibited from testifying at trial.
Facts and Procedural History
Jeffery Chad Palmer, Brenda and Mark Rody, Donald and
Jennifer Juan, David and Karen Taporco, Kimberly and Milton
J. Jacobs, Jr., Mary and Nicholas Sciambra, and Anthony
Pressley (“Plaintiffs”) are owners of houses in
the Ravenwood Subdivision (“Ravenwood”) located
in an “unincorporated section of Pearl River County,
Mississippi (“PRC”)[, ] just south of the city
limits of Picayune, Mississippi.” Am. Compl.  at 2,
6. Plaintiffs allege that at the time they purchased their
houses in Ravenwood, the land comprising Ravenwood together
with a larger parcel of land served as a watershed for the
Alligator Branch waterway and allowed the overflow of that
waterway to move “east and west away from”
Ravenwood. Id. at 6-7.
contend that beginning on February 23, 2012, their houses
began “vibrating violently” when Defendants began
driving pilings into the ground on a section of land
contained within the watershed. Id. at 8-9.
Plaintiffs complained to the Pearl River County Board of
Supervisors (the “Board”) and the contractors but
the construction/vibrations continued. Id.
Plaintiffs also questioned the Board about the dump trucks
that were coming and going from the property. Id.
Board allegedly did not respond to Plaintiffs' complaints
or inquires until at a meeting held on March 5, 2012, when
the Board announced that Defendant Alliance Consulting Group,
LLC (“Alliance”), had previously been granted
permission to construct a “frac sand plant”
(“the Plant”) on a section of land contained
within the watershed that Alliance had leased from Defendant
AHG Solutions, LLC. Id. at 6, 8. Later in 2015,
“a multi-track railroad spur” was constructed at
the Plant. Linfield, Hunter & Junis, Inc., Mem. Summ. J.
 at 3.
February 5, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint  in this
Court against a number of Defendants, alleging they had
suffered damages to their houses and quality of life due to
the construction and operation of the Plant and the
associated rail spur. Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint
on February 4, 2016, naming as Defendants Sun Coast
Contracting Services, LLC; Integrated Pro Services, LLC;
Ranger Contracting, LLC; H&H Trucking, LLC; AHG
Solutions, LLC; Linfield, Hunter & Junius, Inc.; Shale
Support Services, LLC; Drying Facility Asset Holdings, LLC;
and ELOS Environmental, LLC. Am. Compl.  at 2-4.
allege that vibrations from pile-driving during construction
caused “obvious and visible cracks in the brick veneer
of their homes, cracks in the stucco, separations of the
walls in comers (sic) and around doors and windows, windows
that would no longer open, and cracks” in the
foundations of the houses; that development of the land
increased flooding in their subdivision; that the Plant
produces continuous loud noises as it runs throughout the
night; that the Plant emits a “nauseating foul
smell;” and that dust from the Plant's operations
settles over their property. Id. at 9-13. The
Amended Complaint asserts claims against Defendants in four
separate counts, specifically for: (1) Negligence; (2)
Trespass; (3) Private Nuisance; and (4) a Declaratory Ruling.
Id. at 11-13.
Expert Report of Jamie L. Saxon, P.E. [230-1]
designated Jamie L. Saxon, P.E., as a “qualified
structural engineer” to opine on the causal
relationship between the construction/operation of the Plant
and the damages to Plaintiffs' houses. Saxon submitted an
original Report on March 24, 2016, and a Revised Report on
April 29, 2016. Saxon Dep. [230-2] at 20. Saxon's
original Report does not appear within the record here, and
Saxon testified at his deposition that it was no longer
relevant in light of his April 29, 2016, Revised Report.
Id. Saxon's Revised Report reflected that his
opinions were based upon his “understanding of
structures and the interaction of the foundation to the
supporting soils, the effects of vibrations on
structures.” Saxon Revised Report [230-1] at 4.
based his opinion on documents he received from Plaintiffs
and Plaintiffs' counsel, his April 21, 2016,
“visit” to the Plant and the houses, and his
review of a study done for the “New Zealand Transport
Agency . . . [and] applicable extracts from German Standard
DIN 4150-3:1999 and British Standard BS 7385-2:1993.”
Id. at 1-4. Saxon's opinion is that
the intermittent pounding vibrations from driving pipe and
sheet piles and continuous low vibrations caused by other
construction activity and daily operations of the adjacent
plant and rail spur augmented by more frequent and longer
lasting flooding has resulted in the densification of the
fill material placed below each of the houses and this has
resulted in the damages noted.
Id. at 4.
concludes that his opinion is based “upon his
observations and review of supplied materials and
Defendants' Joint Motion to Exclude 
March 20, 2017, Defendants filed the present Joint Motion
 to Exclude or Limit Saxon's testimony. Defendants
assert that Saxon is not qualified under Federal Rule of
Evidence 702 or Daubert to testify regarding his
opinions that Defendants' construction and operation of
the Plant caused any damage to Plaintiffs' houses from
either vibrations or the alleged increase in flooding, that
Saxon did not employ a “sound methodology” in
formulating his opinions, and that his opinions are not
“founded on sufficient facts or data.” Joint Mot.
 at 1; Mem. in Supp.  at 1.
argue that Saxon performed no “independent
investigation and instead relied wholly on the information
provided to him by the Plaintiffs.” Mem. in Supp. 
at 7-17. According to Defendants, when asked at his
deposition if he relied upon Plaintiffs' allegations to
form his opinion, Saxon admitted that he had, as follows:
Q. Okay. So your opinion is based on the plaintiffs'
description of what they experienced during construction; the
fact that there are various degrees of damage, cracks, things
like that at their homes that they claim weren't there
before; and then the fact that pile driving and construction
actually occurred; and the correlation between those led you