United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
STARRETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
reasons below, the Court denies Defendant's Motion to
Exclude the Expert Testimony of Mark Williams  and denies
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment .
a premises liability case. Plaintiff slipped and fell in the
parking lot of Sam's Club Store #6503 in Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. Plaintiff contends that drainpipes on the side
of the store deposited rainwater and algae from the roof onto
a pedestrian walkway outside the store, collecting in the
parking lot in front of the store's exit. Plaintiff
contends that Defendant knew or should have known of the
hazardous condition. She claims Defendant was negligent and
demands a variety of damages. Defendant filed a Motion to
Exclude  the testimony of Plaintiffs expert and a Motion
for Summary Judgment .
Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony 
Defendant argues that the Court should exclude the testimony
of Plaintiffs expert, Mark Williams. Plaintiff contends that
drainpipes on the side of the store deposited rainwater and
algae from the roof onto a pedestrian walkway outside the
store, and that the water and algae collected in the parking
lot in front of the store's exit. Williams intends to
Dangerous conditions that caused Pearson's fall and
resulting injury include stagnant water contaminated with
algae on the asphalt drive. The slippery mixture was formed
by water and algae on the roof that accumulated in a pavement
depression as a result of improper discharge and drainage
across the pedestrian walkway surface.
A to Motion to Exclude at 5, Pearson v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., No. 2:17-CV- 144-KS-MTP (S.D.Miss. Dec. 21, 2018),
ECF No. 51-1. Williams contends that the "pavement where
Pearson slipped and fell was not properly sloped to
drain." Id. at 9.
he believes that "[i]t was foreseeable to Sam's Club
that water contaminated with organic matter from the roof
would flow down the rain water leaders, across the concrete
walkway, accumulate in the pavement depression, and remain
stagnant each time it rained." Id. at 5.
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.
FED. R. EVID. 702. Therefore, "when expert testimony is
offered, the trial judge must perform a screening function to
ensure that the expert's opinion is reliable and relevant
to the facts at issue in the case." Watkins v.
Telsmith, Inc., 121 F.3d 984, 988-89 (5th Cir. 1997).
Daubert v. MerrellDow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579,
113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993), the Supreme Court
provided a nonexclusive list of "general observations
intended to guide a district court's evaluation of
scientific evidence," including: "whether a theory
or technique can be (and has been) tested, whether it has
been subjected to peer review and publication, the known or
potential rate of error, and the existence and maintenance of
standards controlling the technique's operation, as well
as general acceptance." Watkins, 121 F.3d at
989 (punctuation omitted).
Not every guidepost in Daubert will necessarily
apply to expert testimony based on engineering principles and
practical experience, but the district court's
preliminary assessment of whether the reasoning or
methodology underlying the testimony is scientifically valid
and of whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be
applied to the facts in issue is no less important.
Id. at 990-91 (punctuation omitted).
testimony must be supported by "more than subjective
belief or unsupported speculation." Paz v. Brush
Eng'red Materials, Inc., 555 F.3d 383, 388 (5th Cir.
2009). It "must be reliable at each and every step or it
is inadmissible. The reliability analysis applies to all
aspects of an expert's testimony: the methodology, the
facts underlying the expert's opinion, the link between
the facts and the conclusion, et alia." Seaman v.
Seacor Marine LLC, 326 Fed.Appx. 721, 725 (5th Cir.
2009). "Overall, the trial court must strive to ensure
that the expert, whether basing testimony on professional
studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the
same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the
practice of an expert in the relevant field." United
States v. Valencia, 600 F.3d 389, 424 (5th Cir. 2010).
Court's role as gatekeeper is not meant to supplant the
adversary system because "[v]igorous cross-examination,
presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on
the burden of proof are the traditional and appropriate means
of attacking shaky but admissible evidence."
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596. While the Court should
focus solely on the proposed expert's "principles
and methodology, not on the conclusions that they
generate," id. at 595, "nothing in either
Daubert or the Federal Rules of Evidence requires a
district court to admit opinion evidence connected ...