United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING DAUBERT MOTION
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a
form of discrimination” under Title II of the ADA.
Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring, 527 U.S. 581, 600
(1999). The United States alleges that Mississippi is
discriminating against individuals with mental illness by
institutionalizing them or placing them at serious risk of
institutionalization in violation of Title II of the ADA.
United States designated six experts as its Clinical Review
Team. The Clinical Review Team reviewed the records of 154
individuals who were housed in one of the four state
hospitals at some point between October 13, 2015 and October
13, 2017. The Clinical Review Team asked four
questions about each of the individuals:
1. Would the individual have avoided or spent less time in a
State Hospital if he/she had been provided reasonable
2. Is the individual at serious risk of institutionalization
in a State Hospital?
3. Would the individual be opposed to receiving
4. If the individual is appropriate for and would benefit
from community-based services, what services would the
State has moved to exclude the Clinical Review Team's
reports and testimony, arguing that the opinions are
irrelevant and unreliable. See Docket No. 147.
Federal Rule of Evidence 702, a witness may testify as an
expert through a demonstration of “knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education.” Trial courts have
the “gatekeeping” duty of ensuring that a
qualified expert gives testimony that is both relevant and
reliable. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509
U.S. 579, 597 (1993).
testimony is relevant when “sufficiently tied to the
facts of the case that it will aid the jury in resolving a
factual dispute[.]” Daubert, 509 U.S. at 591
(quotation marks and citation omitted). Expert testimony is
reliable when “the reasoning or methodology underlying
the testimony is scientifically valid” and that
“reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to
the facts in issue.” Id. at 592-93.
of the safeguards provided for in Daubert are not as
essential in a case . . . where a district judge sits as the
trier of fact in place of a jury.” Gibbs v.
Gibbs, 210 F.3d 491, 500 (5th Cir. 2000). That is
because “there being no jury, there is no risk of
tainting the trial by exposing a jury to unreliable
evidence.” Whitehouse Hotel Ltd. P'ship v.
C.I.R., 615 F.3d 321, 330 (5th Cir. 2010).
Argument and Analysis
the State argues that Question 1 is irrelevant by
“operation of law” because “once a chancery
court finds that an individual should be committed to a State
Hospital, ” the state hospital is not allowed to
reevaluate whether that individual would be better served
with community-based services. Docket No. 167 at 2-3. Next,
the State argues that Question 4 is unreliable because the
experts have crafted the question to always produce an answer
that is beneficial to the United States' case. Finally,
the State argues that the Clinical Review Team discussed
individuals with intellectual and/or developmental
disabilities (“IDD”) in their expert reports, ...