USA v. Kane et al
Order on Motion in Limine
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF ALASKA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ROBERT F. KANE, and
SECURITY AVIATION, INC.,
ORDER FROM CHAMBERS
[Re: Motion at docket 210]
At docket 210, defendant Security Aviation, Inc. asks the court to issue an order
limiting the opinion testimony of plaintiff’s expert, Earl L. Griffith, to testimony which falls
within the ambit of the summary provided by plaintiff pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 16.
Security’s concern appears to be that Mr. Griffith will be asked to offer reasons in
addition to those included in his summary to support his opinion that the rocket
launchers at issue in this case could be readily converted to operational status. The
United States opposes the motion at docket 248 on the grounds that the summary is
sufficient to permit Griffith to opine that the rocket launchers are readily convertible.
The passage in the summary of Mr. Griffith’s testimony which is critical for
purposes of the pending motion is his recitation that “based on the above test and
examination, I determined that the rocket pod launchers were electrically and
mechanically functional and that each could be readily converted to expel a projectile by
the action of an explosive or other propellant.”1 After examining the summary’s
description of the test and examination, it is evident that Mr. Griffith (whose
Doc. 210, ex. A at p. 3.
qualifications are not challenged) will base his opinion on the overall observed condition
of the rocket launchers with particular emphasis on the more focused observations that
“none of the launch tubes had an obstruction welded into the tubes”2 and that each of
the rocket launchers had intact electrical circuitry providing a “continuous electrical path
for carrying voltage through the launcher.”3
Security has not shown that an opinion based on the application of Mr. Griffith’s
training and experience to the facts as they are noted in his report would be so
unreliable as to require the court to exclude it. It may be that on cross-examination, it
will be shown that there are holes in Mr. Griffith’s reasoning. However, exposing flaws
in testimony is the purpose of good cross-examination. Seeking to exclude an opinion
in order to avoid the need to cross-examine is not a proper use of a motion in limine.
To the extent that the motion at docket 210 is meant to exclude all testimony
from Mr. Griffith, it will be denied. To the extent that the motion at docket 210 is
intended to head off an attempt by counsel for plaintiff to elicit testimony which is
beyond the scope of Mr. Griffith’s summary, it will be granted.
The motion at docket 210 is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as set forth
DATED this 12th day of May 2006 at Anchorage, Alaska.
JOHN W. SEDWICK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
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