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Sadid v. Idaho State University

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 6, 2013

HABIB SADID, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY, ARTHUR VAILAS, RICHARD JACOBSEN, GRAHAM GARNER, DAVID BEARD, and JOHN/JANE DOES 1 through X, whose true identities are presently unknown, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERTS

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is defendant Graham Garner's Motion to Exclude Expert Opinions. See Dkt. 144. The Court has determined that oral argument would not significantly assist the decisional process and will decide the motion without a hearing. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant the motion as to Dr. Bowles and Dr. Beaver, but will deny the motion as to Dr. LaCroix.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Dr. Habib Sadid alleges that Mr. Garner defamed him by saying, among other things, that Dr. Sadid had threatened many individuals and that he "presented a lot of safety issues." ISU Bengal Article, Dkt. 88-15, at 2. At trial, Dr. Sadid intends to present expert opinion testimony regarding his alleged damages from three witnesses: Dr. Tyler Bowles, Dr. Craig Beaver, and Dr. Camille LaCroix. Dr. Bowles is slated to testify about economic damages. Dr. Beaver and Dr. LaCroix have issued opinions regard Dr. Sadid's alleged psychological damages.

Mr. Garner says these witnesses should be excluded for several reasons, including that Dr. Sadid intends to ask them to testify about matters beyond the scope of their reports. More specifically, Mr. Garner contends that these experts issued reports on damages that arose because of Dr. Sadid's termination - not damages that flowed from his later comments about Dr. Sadid's termination.

ANALYSIS

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2) deals with disclosure of expert testimony. It requires parties to disclose the identity of expert witnesses that may be used at trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(A). Additionally, "if the witness is one retained or specially employed to provide expert testimony in the case..." the expert disclosure must be accompanied by a written report. Id. That written report must contain, among other things, "a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B). This Court's Local Rules further indicate that "[e]xcept for good cause shown, the scope of subsequent testimony by an expert witness must be limited to those subject areas identified in the disclosure report or through other discovery such as a deposition." D. Idaho Local R. 26.2(b).

With these rules in mind, the Court turns to each expert's report, beginning with Dr. Bowles'.

Dr. Bowles. In describing his report, Dr. Bowles indicated that he had "prepared a report on the economic losses suffered by Dr. Habib Sadid as a result of being terminated by Idaho State University. " Dkt. 149-1, at 9 (emphasis added). Consistent with this description, Dr. Bowles' report focuses on Dr. Sadid's termination; it does not discuss defamation or address economic losses allegedly flowing from Mr. Garner's comments. See id. at 9-33.

Dr. Sadid now attempts to widen the scope of the report. In responding to this motion in limine, Dr. Sadid submitted an affidavit from Dr. Bowles. In his affidavit, Dr. Bowles now says that when he formed his opinion about the economic losses Dr. Sadid suffered, he viewed every single "alleged wrong[] and fact[] stated in the Complaint" - including the defamatory comments. As he puts it:

In developing my opinion of the economic losses suffered by Dr. Sadid, I viewed and treated as a single, indivisible injury the alleged wrongs and facts stated in the Complaint. I did so for several reasons, including:
a. The Complaint explained that the above alleged wrongs were part and parcel of one sequence of events, which explains my short-hand reference in the cover letter to my Report as to "the economic losses suffered by Dr. Habib Sadid as a result of his being terminated by Idaho State University";
b. There is a deep nexus in subject matter of the termination, the events leading up to that termination, and the alleged defamation as published in the newspaper, i.e., the last occurring to purportedly ...

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