Bremmer et al v. Appleton Electric, LLC et al
ORDER denying 178 the plaintiff's Motion to Strike Late Expert Report and Supplemental Motion in Limine. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Thomas D. Thalken.(BJC)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
WASTE CONNECTIONS, INC.,
APPLETON ELECTRIC, LLC,
This matter is before the court on the plaintiff’s, Waste Connections, Inc. (WCI),
Motion to Strike Late Expert Report and Supplemental Motion in Limine. See Filing No.
178 - Motion. WCI filed a brief (Filing No. 179), index of evidence (Filing No. 180), and
affidavit (Filing No. 181) in support of the motion. The defendant, Appleton Electric,
LLC (Appleton), filed a brief (Filing No. 193) and index of evidence (Filing No. 194) in
WCI’s action arises from an injury Rick Bremmer (Bremmer) sustained on
Appleton’s premises (Appleton Facility). See Filing No. 1-1 - Complaint. On May 25,
2011, Bremmer was at the Appleton Facility to deliver an order for WCI when Bremmer
fell into an open pit approximately twenty feet by twenty feet wide and five feet deep and
allegedly sustained a torn rotator cuff and herniated disc. Id. ¶¶ 9-13, 18-19. Generally,
WCI alleges Appleton’s negligence caused Bremmer’s injuries. Id. ¶¶ 18-21. Appleton
generally denies WCI’s allegations and asserts several affirmative defenses. See Filing
No. 1-1 - Answer ¶¶ 3-4.
On February 21, 2014, Appleton timely disclosed Alfred Bowles, II, M.D. (Dr.
Bowles) as an expert and served WCI with a copy of Dr. Bowles’ February 19, 2014,
report. See Filing No. 180-1 - Appleton’s Rule 26(a)(2) Disclosures and Dr. Bowles’
February 19, 2014, report (original report). Dr. Bowles submitted his original report
without the benefit of Bremmer’s description of the fall.
Id. - Dr. Bowles’ Original
Report. The original report discussed Bremmer’s medical history prior to and following
the alleged incident.
Dr. Bowles generally concluded “[t]here is no objective
confirmation that Mr. Bremmer sustained any acute traumatic injury as a result of the
alleged incident.” Id. Dr. Bowles opined, “It is my opinion to a reasonable degree of
medical certainty that Mr. Bremmer’s alleged fall did not cause the injuries claimed in
this lawsuit.” Id.
On March 26, 2014, Appleton deposed Bremmer. Bremmer described how he
fell into the pit as follows:
I - when I walked into that pit, I went straight down. There
was grease in the bottom of that pit. My feet hit first. And
my kick - shot my legs right out from under me. . . . My feet
hit the bottom first. . . . And threw me backwards. . . . My
head hit the concrete wall on this side [the south side]. . . .
And my arm go hooked up on this wall.
See Filing No. 180-1 - Bremmer Depo. 176:22 - 178:6. On May 1, 2014, Dr. Bowles
submitted a supplemental report which Dr. Bowles produced in response to his review
of Bremmer’s deposition transcript. See Filing No. 180-1 - Dr. Bowles’ May 1, 2014,
report (supplemental report). In the supplemental report, Dr. Bowles described how a
person would fall if the person stepped off a stable surface into an open space
according to the law of gravity. Id. Specifically, Dr. Bowles opined, “[t]he expected
response for a forward-walking pedestrian stepping off a stable surface would be for the
upper body momentum to carry the torso and arms forward and result in a forward fall of
the pedestrian.” Id. In the supplemental report, Dr. Bowles included an illustration of
this scenario. Id. At the conclusion of the supplement report, Dr. Bowles stated, “[a]fter
my review and consideration of the transcript, the opinions previously stated in my
February 19, 2014 report remain unchanged.” Id. On May 6, 2014, WCI’s counsel
deposed Dr. Bowles. See Filing No. 193 - Response.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e)(2), regarding supplementing disclosures
for experts, provides:
For an expert whose report must be disclosed under Rule
26(a)(2)(B), the party’s duty to supplement extends both to
information included in the report and to information given
during the expert’s deposition. Any additions or changes to
this information must be disclosed by the time the party’s
pretrial disclosures under Rule 26(a)(3) are due.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e)(2). Rule 26(a)(3)(B) provides “[u]nless the court orders otherwise,
these disclosures must be made at least 30 days before trial.”
Fed. R. Civ. P.
“District courts have broad discretion in establishing and enforcing
deadlines and in maintaining compliance with discovery and pretrial orders.”
Baycol Products Litig., 596 F.3d 884, 888 (8th Cir. 2010).
WCI seeks to strike the supplemental report and preclude the defendants from
offering any evidence or argument based on the information in Dr. Bowles’
supplemental report. See Filing No. 178 - Motion to Strike Late Expert Report and
Supplemental Motion in Limine; Filing No. 179 - Brief. WCI argues the supplemental
report is untimely under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Filing No. 179 Brief.
Additionally, WCI argues Appleton, through this supplemental report, is
attempting to “sneak in” a radically new opinion that Bremmer is lying about how
Bremmer fell into the pit. Id. Lastly, WCI argues Dr. Bowles fails to articulate any
scientific grounds to support his opinions in the supplemental report.
Appleton argues Dr. Bowles offers no new opinions in the supplemental report
and his opinions in both reports are based on review of an exhaustive amount of
See Filing No. 193 - Response.
Appleton contends the fact that Dr.
Bowles is challenging the argument Bremmer injured or struck his head and shoulder
could not have been clearer in his original report. Id. Appleton argues WCI’s counsel
deposed Dr. Bowles following receipt of the supplemental report and therefore cannot
claim to be surprised or prejudiced by the information in the supplemental report. Id.
Lastly, Appleton asserts WCI’s Daubert challenge is conclusory and Dr. Bowles’
opinion is based on his extensive knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education
as a physician, surgeon, and biomechanical expert. Id.
In Dr. Bowles’ original report he opined Bremmer’s alleged fall did not cause the
injuries claimed in this lawsuit, thus questioning Bremmer’s injury.
supplemental report, after finally being provided previously unknown specific information
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 592–93 (1993).
of how the fall occurred, expounds on his initial opinion the fall did not cause the
injuries. Appleton promptly submitted Dr. Bowles’ supplemental report within one week
following Bremmer’s deposition. Appleton did not delay or attempt to surprise WCI with
a new defense. The timing of the supplemental report could not have been avoided
considering the circumstances2 and does not require the court to strike the report.
Additionally, WCI’s counsel had an opportunity to examine Dr. Bowles about the
information contained in the supplemental report during a deposition. WCI had notice of
Dr. Bowles’ opinions and should have filed a properly supported Daubert motion after
receiving his original report. Regardless of timing, WCI’s current Daubert challenge is
conclusory. An expert’s contrary opinion whether an alleged injury occurred does not
make the expert’s opinion unreliable under Daubert. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED:
WCI’s Motion to Strike Late Expert Report and Supplemental Motion in
Limine (Filing No. 178) is denied.
Dated this 12th day of May, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Thomas D. Thalken
United States Magistrate Judge
One such circumstance is Bremmer’s refusal to appear at two depositions when he was
previously a party to this case. See Filing No. 129 - Order (discussing Bremmer’s failure to show for two
properly noticed depositions).
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