In Woodmen of World Life Insurance Society v. U.S. Bank National Association the US District Court for the District of Nebraska has decided that an accounting expert witness may not be qualified to testify regarding economic issues beyond his education and scientific expertise. The Court explained:
Woodmen moves to exclude the testimony of [name of expert] who is defendant Emil C. Busse, Jr.’s expert witness. [name of expert] is certified public accountant who will likewise testify as to damages in this case. [name of expert] has a Bachelor of Science in business with an accounting emphasis and a Juris Doctorate. Again, he will testify regarding the reallocation of funds and the issue of economic or monetary loss in this case. Woodmen alleges he will express an opinion that Woodmen’s losses were caused by the economy and the “Great Recession.” Woodmen contends that [name of expert] is not qualified to make these opinions and lacks any methodology for his conclusions. Woodmen contends that [name of expert] is not an economic expert and cannot offer an opinion about the economy and its effect on Woodmen’s damages. [name of expert], argues Woodmen, cannot just parrot hearsay from other reports. See Williams v. Illinois, –––U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 2221, 2241 (2012) (ruling that the trial court must “screen out experts who would act as mere conduits for hearsay by strictly enforcing the requirement that experts display some genuine, ‘scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge [that] will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue”). Further, Woodmen contends that [name of expert] opinions will not assist the trier of fact and are unreliable under Fed.R.Evid. 702.
Mr. Busse disagrees with Woodmen’s assessments. Mr. Busse contends that [name of expert] testimony is relevant to the history of dealings between the parties, and will show a decline in the value of securities by the three troubled assets and the ways in which Mr. Busse began to bring new money into the fund. [name of expert] intends to testify as to this dilution effect caused by adding the new money to the fund. Mr. Busse argues that [name of expert] opinions will be based on arithmetic and will be helpful to the jury.
The court finds that [name of expert] is qualified to testify to those matters within his education and expertise. He can testify as to the loss suffered by Woodmen. However, the court is uncertain as to whether it will allow [name of expert] to testify as to particular economic issues not related to his expertise. The court will listen to the evidence as it evolves and will make a determination at that time. The court will not permit [name of expert] to testify outside his areas of expertise. The court finds that the motions should be denied at this time without prejudice to its reassertion at trial.
Write a Reply or Comment