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Allen v. Ford Motor Co.

September 23, 2010

LARRY GLENN ALLEN, ET AL.
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, ET AL.



MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On September 16, 2010, the undersigned conducted ahearing to consider the following motions: Defendant Ford Motor Company's Motion to Exclude Testimony of Steve Syson (document #67), Defendant Ford Motor Company's Motion to Exclude Testimony of Carley Ward (document #70), Defendant TRW Vehicle Safety System, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Expert Testimony of Carley Ward (document #71), and Defendant TRW Vehicle Safety System, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Expert Testimony of Steve Syson (document #75). At the hearing, the undersigned heard arguments from counsel and denied the motions for the reasons set forth below.

Applicable Law

Pursuant to FRE 702, an expert may testify as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education if scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier-of-fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. FRE 702 requires:

1) the testimony must be based upon sufficient facts or data;

2) the testimony must be the product of reliable principles and methods; and

3) the expert must apply those principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case. Rule 702 is broadly interpreted, and helpfulness to the trier of fact is its "touchstone." Kopf v. Skyrm, 993 F.2d 374, 377 (4th Cir.1993) (citing Friendship Heights Associates v. Koubek, 785 F.2d 1154, 1159 (4th Cir.1986)). Testimony from an expert is presumed to be helpful unless it concerns matters within the everyday knowledge and experience of a lay juror. Id. (citing Persinger v. Norfolk & Western Railway Co., 920 F.2d 1185, 1188 (4th Cir.1990)).

In Daubert,*fn1 the Supreme Court recognized that the trial judge has a gate-keeping role to ensure that expert testimony is relevant and reliable. The Court espoused five non-exclusive, flexible factors that may be considered in deciding whether a proposed expert's methodology is scientifically valid or reliable:

(1) whether the expert's theory can be or has been tested,

(2) whether the theory has been subject to peer review and publication,

(3) the known or potential rate of error of the technique or ...


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