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Cooper v. Meritor, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

April 2, 2018

BRENDA J. COOPER, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
v.
MERITOR, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANTS JOE E. SLEDGE, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
v.
MERITOR, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANTS AND KATHERINE LONGSTREET COOKE, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
v.
MERITOR, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANTS AND SRA INVESTMENTS, LLC, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
v.
MERITOR, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANTS AND FELICIA WILLIS, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
v.
MERITOR, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          JANE M. VIRDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion [509] of Plaintiffs to strike Meritor Inc.'s, Rockwell Automation Inc.'s and the Boeing Company's (collectively “Meritor”) expert designation of James “Jim” Peeples. For the reasons discussed below, the motion, with limited exception, is DENIED.

         I. The Parties' Positions:

         In support of their motion to strike Peeples, Plaintiffs argue that he is a non-specially retained/ non-reporting expert as to all matters addressed in his designation. A party must disclose, in accordance with the deadline for doing so, the subject matter on which a non-reporting expert is expected to testify and must provide a summary of the opinions and facts to which the witness will testify. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(C). According to Plaintiffs, Defendants' designation of Peeples does not comply with this disclosure requirement and should be stricken as unjustified and prejudicial.

         Alternatively, Plaintiffs argue that even if, as Defendants contend, they designated Peeples as a non-reporting expert on only certain matters identified in his designation and as a specially retained/reporting expert on the other matters identified therein, the designation is still insufficient because it also fails to satisfy the requirements for a report of a specially retained reporting expert pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B).

         For its part, Defendants, as noted, argue that Peeples is a non-reporting expert on only the first five reports referenced in Exhibit F of his designation, and they contend that those reports sufficiently summarize the subject matter, opinions, and facts on which he is expected to testify. As for the balance of the documents referenced in the designation (appearing as Nos. 6-18 on Exhibit F), Defendants assert that Peeples is a specially retained expert, and the documents referenced in that capacity satisfy, Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B)'s requirement that such an expert provide a report prepared and signed by him containing among other information, “(i) a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them; (ii) the facts or data considered by the witness in forming them . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B)(i)(ii).

         II. The Peeples Designation

         On August 18, 2017, its deadline for doing so, Defendants made the following designation of Jim Peeples:

         B. EXPERTS NOT SPECIFICALLY RETAINED PURSUANT TO RULE 26(a)(2)(C) AND RETAINED PURSUANT TO RULE 26(a)(2)(B)

         Defendants identify the following expert, pursuant to Rule 26(a)(2)(C) and 26(a)(2)(B), in each of the above-styled cases:

James Peeples, PE
Vice President, Senior Technical Environmental Engineer T&M Associates, Inc.
4675 Lakehurst Court, Suite 250
Columbus, Ohio 43016
Exhibit F contains a copy of Mr. Peeples' Curriculum Vitae and list of reports, including all opinions, analysis, sources and references contained therein, which have previously been submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and/or the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and previously produced to all parties, upon which Mr. Peeples will rely and testify. The materials reflect the subject matter on which Mr. Peeples will testify. All of the opinions Mr. Peeples may testify to will be expressed to a reasonable degree of scientific, technical, and/or engineering certainty. Mr. Peeples' hourly rate for expert testimony is $300.

         Exhibit F to the designation of Jim Peeples is as follows:

         EXHIBIT F

1. Corrective Measures Pre-Design Investigation Results, Feb. 21, 2008 (MTOR-EPA0010647 -10835)
2. Annual Monitoring Report, Calendar Year 2011, Grenada Manufacturing, LLC (GRENADA 049780 -050389)
3. 2012 Annual Monitoring Report, Grenada Manufacturing, LLC (GRENADA 007684 - f008906)
4. Annual Monitoring Report, Calendar Year 2013, Grenada Manufacturing, LLC (GRENADA 053281 - 054003)
5. Annual Monitoring Report, Calendar Year 2014, Grenada Manufacturing, LLC (GRENADA 054004 -055174)
6. Moose Lodge Road Area Additional Investigation Report, Comprehensive Study Area Groundwater Evaluation ...

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