Tillman et al v. Larpenter et al
ORDER AND REASONS regarding denial of 78 MOTION in Limine to Exclude the Testimony of Kerry Najolia. Signed by Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.(ecm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
WYTEIKA TILLMAN ET AL.
JERRY LARPENTER ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine to Exclude Expert
Testimony (Doc. 78).
This Court previously denied this Motion for the
This litigation arises out of an incident in which the decedent Cameron
Tillman (son of Plaintiffs Wyteika Tillman and Morell Turner) was shot and
killed by Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Preston Norman. Defendants
intend to introduce the expert testimony of Kerry Najolia on the topics of use
of force, police policy, police procedure, police training, and police officer
survival/defensive tactics. Plaintiffs have filed the instant Motion seeking to
exclude Najolia’s expert testimony.
The admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of
Evidence 702, which provides as follows:
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an
opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or
other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; (b) the
testimony is based on sufficient facts or data; (c) the testimony is
the product of reliable principles and methods; and (d) the expert
has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the
The current version of Rule 702 reflects the Supreme Court’s decisions in
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 1 and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael. 2
The threshold inquiry is whether the expert possesses the requisite
qualifications to render an opinion on a particular subject matter. 3 Having
defined the permissible scope of the expert’s testimony, a court next inquires
whether the opinions are reliable and relevant. 4 In undertaking this tripartite
analysis, courts must give proper deference to the traditional adversary system
509 U.S. 579 (1993).
526 U.S. 137 (1999).
3 Wagoner v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 813 F. Supp. 2d 771, 799 (E.D. La. 2011); see also
Wilson v. Woods, 163 F.3d 935, 937 (5th Cir. 1999) (“A district court should refuse to allow
an expert witness to testify if it finds that the witness is not qualified to testify in a particular
field or on a given subject.”).
4 See United States v. Valencia, 600 F.3d 389, 424 (5th Cir. 2010).
and the role of the jury within that system. 5 “Vigorous cross-examination,
presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on the burden of
proof are the traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but
admissible evidence.” 6 As the “gatekeeper” of expert testimony, the trial court
enjoys broad discretion in determining admissibility. 7
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Plaintiffs base their motion to exclude Najolia’s testimony on two issues:
(1) that his methodology is unreliable and (2) that his publications are
First, Plaintiffs complain that Najolia’s methodology is unreliable
because he fails to distinguish between quantitative and qualitative analysis.
This Court finds this criticism unavailing. Najolia’s report and testimony
indicate that he considered both qualitative and quantitative publications, as
well as his own training, education, and experience, in developing his opinions.
This methodology is sufficiently reliable to allow his testimony.
Second, Plaintiffs complain that Najolia’s publication credits are
“suspect,” tending to show that he is unqualified. Plaintiffs contend that
Najolia did not recall if his name was present on articles and manuals that he
had co-authored. The Court finds that this minor issue, in light of the other
information on his curriculum vitae, does not show that Najolia is unqualified
and is best handled on cross-examination.
See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596.
7 Wellogix, Inc. v. Accenture, L.L.P., 716 F.3d 867, 881 (5th Cir. 2013).
For the foregoing reasons, this Motion was previously denied.
New Orleans, Louisiana this 7th day of March, 2018.
JANE TRICHE MILAZZO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?