Trulove v. San Francisco et al

Filing 439


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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 JAMAL RASHID TRULOVE, Case No. 16-cv-050 YGR Plaintiff, PRETRIAL ORDER NO. 6 DENYING MOTIONS TO EXCLUDE TRAINUM AND FOR ADDITIONAL DEPOSITION TIME 7 v. 8 9 10 MAUREEN D’AMICO, MICHAEL JOHNSON, ROBERT MCMILLAN, AND JOHN EVANS, ET AL, Defendants. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Dkt. No. 171, 399 As part of their motion to exclude plaintiff’s expert witnesses, defendants moved to 13 exclude the testimony of James Trainum in its entirety, and also specifically as to portions of his 14 opinions stated in paragraphs 71, 75, 76, 85, 87, 93, and 119-123 of his report. (Dkt. No. 171.) 15 Defendants seek to exclude Trainum’s testimony in its entirety on the grounds that he lacks 16 knowledge of California policing standards and training, and therefore is not qualified to testify 17 regarding the “minimally acceptable police practices” of defendants. Defendants contend that he 18 never reviewed any California Peace Officer Standards and Training (“POST”) standards in 19 preparing his opinions. Defendants further argue that his opinions are irrelevant to the question of 20 intentional conduct, and that his opinions lack a sufficient evidentiary foundation. 21 The Court carefully considered the submissions in connection with the motion and 22 opposition, including the parties’ supplemental submissions, and their argument at the hearing on 23 the motion and in their pre-trial conference. The motion is DENIED. 24 A. 25 First, as the Court indicated at the pretrial conference, the motion to exclude the testimony Motion to Exclude Entirety 26 in its entirety is DENIED. The record indicates that, based on his training and experience, as well 27 as his review of the information in the case and the applicable policies, Trainum is qualified to 28 offer the opinions stated in his report. Defendants’ criticism appears to focus on the fact that 1 Trainum garnered his experience outside of California, and is not qualified to opine about 2 California policing standards. On this basis, they contend that his opinions are unreliable, 3 irrelevant, and misleading. 4 Trainum indicates that he has reviewed the policies and standards defendants themselves 5 identified as applicable to their conduct. Defendants have made no showing that the standards he 6 says he reviewed are any different from those applicable here. Further, whether the officers here 7 engaged in conduct inconsistent with the applicable standards is relevant to whether that conduct 8 was intentional or in reckless disregard of the constitutional standards that applied to their 9 investigation. See Jimenez v. City of Chicago, 732 F.3d 710, 721–22 (7th Cir. 2013) (“expert testimony regarding sound professional standards governing a defendant's actions can be relevant 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 and helpful . . . . [and] can give a jury a baseline to help evaluate whether a defendant's deviations 12 from those standards were merely negligent or were so severe or persistent as to support an 13 inference of intentional or reckless conduct that violated a plaintiff's constitutional rights.”); 14 Restivo v. Hessemann, 846 F.3d 547, 580 (2d Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 644 (2018) 15 (same). The objections speak to the weight of the testimony, not its admissibility. 16 Defendants’ argument that Trainum lacks knowledge of POST appears to be without 17 substance. However, since there was some confusion on this point in the course of his deposition, 18 defendants are permitted one (1) additional hour to depose Trainum on POST standards and 19 whether they differ from any standards on which he based the opinions he intends to offer. 20 B. Paragraphs 119-23 21 Defendants seek to exclude specific portions of Trainum’s opinions on the grounds that he 22 is offering forensic opinions but is not a forensic expert. The Court disagrees. Trainum’s report 23 indicates that he will offer opinions about what reasonable homicide investigators would rely on 24 with respect to such forensic experts, and how they would use that information in their 25 investigation, rather than substituting his own opinion for that of a forensics expert. (Trainum 26 Report at ¶¶ 119-23.) 27 /// 28 /// 2 1 C. Paragraphs 71, 75, 76, 85-87, and 93 2 As to paragraphs 71, 75, 76, 85-87, and 93, the motion is DENIED. Although certain 3 portions of these paragraphs state that the unidentified officers “appeared” to be Johnson and Lee, 4 Trainum establishes the limitations of that inference as well, and that it is based entirely on the 5 testimony provided to him for review, not his personal knowledge. Defendants can test Trainum’s 6 assumptions by cross-examination. 7 D. 8 Defendants’ request to examine Trainum on the drafting of his report, and specifically 9 Request for Additional Deposition Time whether the attorneys prepared the report, is DENIED. As defendants concede, Rule 26(b)(4)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure precludes discovery of drafts of any report or expert 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 disclosure required under Rule 26 as attorney work product. The Rule further provides that 12 communications between an attorney and expert witness are protected except to the extent that the 13 communications: (i) relate to compensation for the expert's study or testimony; (ii) identify facts 14 or data that the party's attorney provided and that the expert considered in forming the opinions to 15 be expressed; or (iii) identify assumptions that the party's attorney provided and that the expert 16 relied on in forming the opinions to be expressed. F ed. R. Civ. Pro 26(b)(4)(C). These provisions 17 were added to Rule 26 in the 2010 Amendments of the rules. The “driving purpose of the 2010 18 amendments was to protect opinion work product—i.e., attorney mental impressions, conclusions, 19 opinions, or legal theories—from discovery.” Republic of Ecuador v. Mackay, 742 F.3d 860, 870 20 (9th Cir. 2014). Therefore, Rules 26(b)(3) and (b)(4) now shield attorney-work product and drafts 21 of a testifying expert’s reports, though they do not preclude discovery of other materials the expert 22 considered, such as testing of material involved in the litigation, alternative analyses, and 23 communications with persons other than the party’s counsel. Id. at 870. Discovery of attorney- 24 expert communications in preparation for trial is rare, and permitted only upon a showing of 25 “substantial need” for disclosure of those communications that cannot be obtained by other means 26 “without undue hardship.” Id. at 866 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(3)(A)); see also Goodness 27 Films, LLC v. TV One, LLC, No. CV1208688GWJEMX, 2013 WL 12136374, at *2 (C.D. Cal. 28 Aug. 13, 2013) (rejecting Gerke v. Travelers Gas. Ins. Co. of America, 289 F.R.D. 316 (D. Or. 3 1 2 2013) as contrary to Republic of Ecuador). Defendants have made no showing to warrant inquiry into the attorney-expert 3 communications in the drafting process here. The Court’s review of the deposition testimony and 4 expert report indicates that Trainum is qualified to state his opinions and relied on information 5 sufficient to provide such opinions. Defendants submit no evidence to suggest excessive attorney 6 involvement in the drafting of the report, or that they drafted it for him. That counsel provided 7 Trainum with materials and information about the case is not unusual. Further, the report itself is 8 not admissible. The goal of the report is “to convey the substance of the expert’s opinion . . . so 9 that the opponent will be ready to rebut, to cross-examine, and to offer a competing expert if necessary.” Meyer Intellectual Properties Ltd. v. Bodum 690 F.3d 1354, 74-75 (Fed. Cir. 2012) 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 citing Walsh .v Chez, 583 F.3d 990, 994 (7th Cir. 2009). Here, the report was timely provided 12 and the defendants had a fulsome opportunity to depose him on the same. 13 E. Conclusion 14 The motion to exclude Trainum’s testimony is DENIED. Defendants will be permitted to 15 take one additional hour of deposition limited to the issue of POST standards and whether they 16 differ the standards on which he based his opinions. 17 The request to depose Trainum on the report drafting process is DENIED. 18 This terminates Docket No. 171. 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 21 22 Dated: March 7, 2018 ______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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