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Ferreira v. Arpaio

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 16, 2017

Shari Ferreira, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Joseph M Arpaio, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          James A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Exclude Plaintiffs' Expert, Pablo Stewart, M.D. (Doc. 213), filed on July 31, 2017. Having considered both parties' briefs, the Court now rules on the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court need not set forth a full recitation of the facts underlying this matter. For purposes of adjudicating Defendants' pending Motion to Exclude Dr. Stewart, a brief recital of the following facts, taken from Plaintiff Shari Ferreira's Third Amended Complaint is sufficient. Plaintiffs brought this civil rights action on behalf of decedent Zachary Daughtry in her capacity as personal representative of the estate. (Doc. 12 at 1). Daughtry was arrested in December of 2013 and booked into the 4th Avenue Jail complex. (Id. at 8). On July 9, 2014, Defendant Ryan Bates was placed in a cell with Daughtry. (Id. at 9). Officers passed their cell later that evening to find Bates standing over Daughtry, who was unresponsive and laying in a puddle of blood. (Id. at 12). Daughtry ultimately passed away from his injuries on July 20, 2014. (Id. at 15).

         On November 21, 2016, Plaintiffs disclosed the report of their psychiatric expert, Dr. Pablo Stewart. On February 10, 2017, Defendants responded by filing a Motion to Strike Expert Report of Pablo Stewart. (Doc. 149). Defendants argued that Dr. Stewart's findings were conclusory, in addition to being displeased with his incorporation of over 360 pages of affidavits from another case by reference. Defendants argued that this disclosure violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 26(a)(2)(B). A discovery hearing was held on March 22, 2017 in part to discuss Defendants' Motion to Strike. At the hearing, the Court denied Defendants' Motion to Strike, but gave Plaintiffs an opportunity to redo Dr. Stewart's report. Plaintiffs ultimately refiled Dr. Stewart's revised report on April 7, 2017. Defendants subsequently filed the Motion to Exclude currently at issue on July 31, 2017. (Doc. 213). Plaintiffs filed a Response on September 5, 2017, (Doc. 224), to which Defendants filed a Reply on September 12, 2017. (Doc. 226).

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Defendants move to exclude Plaintiffs' psychiatric expert, Dr. Pablo Stewart. Defendants contend that Dr. Stewart must be excluded because his expert report fails to comply with FRCP 26 and that his opinions are inadmissible pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence (“FRE”) 702. The Court will discuss each of the standards under these rules in turn.

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26

         FRCP 26 requires that if a party desires to have a witness present expert testimony, the party must disclose both the expert and provide a written report outlining information about the expert and her testimony. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 26(a)(2)(A)-(B). The Rule requires, in relevant part, that the expert report must include:

(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).

         “Bald conclusions, brief statements of ultimate conclusions with no explanation of the basis and reasons therefore, or reports omitting a statement of how the facts support the conclusions do not satisfy Rule 26(a)(2)(B).” Izzo v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 2:15-CV-01142-JAD-NJK, 2016 WL 593532, at *2 (D. Nev. Feb. 11, 2016) (citations omitted). Exclusion of expert testimony “is an appropriate remedy for failing to fulfill the required disclosure requirements of Rule 26(a).” Yeti by Molly, Ltd. v. Deckers Outdoor Corp., 259 F.3d 1101, 1106 (9th Cir. 2001). However, questions related to the factual basis of an expert's testimony go “to the credibility of the testimony, not the admissibility, and it is up to the opposing party to examine the factual basis for the opinion in cross-examination.” Children's Broadcasting Corp. v. Walt Disney Co., 357 F.3d 860, 865 (9th Cir. 2004).

         B. Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert

         In addition to FRCP 26 considerations, when either party attempts to offer expert testimony through an expert witness, the Court “must determine whether the expert witness is qualified and has specialized knowledge that will assist a trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.” McKendall v. Crown Control Corp., 122 F.3d 803, 805 (9th Cir. 1997) (citing Fed.R.Evid. 702; Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 591 (1993) (“Daubert I”)). The Court's analysis is made by comparing the proposed expert testimony to the requirements of FRE 702. FRE 702 provides that:

         A witness who is qualified 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 ...

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