United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
BRENDA J. COOPER, et al. PLAINTIFFS
MERITOR, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court in these consolidated cases is the “Motion of
Defendants Meritor Inc., The Boeing Company, and Rockwell
Automation, Inc. to Exclude the Opinions and Testimony of
Howard Herring.” Doc. #542.
consolidated cases involve claims for property damage arising
from decades of operation of a manufacturing facility
(“Facility”) in Grenada, Mississippi, by Meritor,
Inc., the Boeing Company, Rockwell Automation, Inc., and
Textron, Inc. The plaintiffs, all property owners or former
property owners of land in Grenada's Eastern Heights
subdivision (“Subdivision”), assert that the
defendants negligently operated the Facility and that the
negligence resulted in the contamination of Eastern Heights.
The plaintiffs' amended complaint, which asserts claims
for fraud, civil conspiracy, negligence, nuisance, and
infliction of emotional distress, seeks recovery for, among
other things, relocation costs. Doc. #43 at ¶ 76.
discovery, the plaintiffs disclosed the expert report of
Howard Herring, which estimates the relocation cost for
forty-three homes in the Subdivision, including eight homes
owned by the plaintiffs. Doc. #542-1 at 3. On May 7, 2018,
Meritor, Boeing, and Rockwell (“Meritor
Defendants”) filed a motion to exclude Herring's
opinions. Doc. #542. Textron joined the motion two days
later. Doc. #577. The plaintiffs responded in opposition to
the motion on May 18, 2018. Doc. #614. The Meritor Defendants
replied on May 25, 2018. Doc. #689.
Standard Governing Admissibility of Expert
Rule of Evidence 702 provides:
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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
“district court has wide latitude when navigating the
expert-qualification process.” Williams v.
Manitowoc Cranes, L.L.C., 896 F.3d 607, 625 (5th Cir.
2018). “As long as there are sufficient indicia that an
individual will provide a reliable opinion on a subject, a
district court may qualify that individual as an
expert.” Id. (quotation marks omitted).
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509
U.S. 579 (1993), a district court has a “special
obligation … to ensure that any and all scientific
testimony is not only relevant, but reliable.” Bear
Ranch, L.L.C. v. Heartbrand Beef, Inc., 885 F.3d 794,
802 (5th Cir. 2018) (internal alterations and quotation marks
omitted). “To establish reliability under
Daubert, an expert bears the burden of furnishing
some objective, independent validation of his