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Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc. v. Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

February 13, 2018

OIL CONSULTING ENTERPRISE, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
HAWKER BEECHCRAFT GLOBAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT, LLC d/b/a Hawker Beechcraft Services, n/k/a Textron Aviation, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

          SUSAN C. BUCKLEW United States District Judge

         This cause comes before the Court on two motions: (1) Defendant's Motion to Exclude the Opinions of Plaintiff's Expert, William Boege, III (Doc. No. 43), which Plaintiff opposes (Doc. No. 56); and (2) Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Expert, Douglas Stimpson (Doc. No. 44), which Defendant opposes (Doc. No. 53). The Court held a hearing on these motions on February 7, 2018. As explained below, the motions are granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         In December of 2014, Plaintiff Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc. contracted with Defendant Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC to perform a Phase I-IV pre-purchase inspection on a King Air 350 aircraft at Defendant's Tampa facility (“First Inspection”). (Doc. No. 46-2). During the First Inspection, no major corrosion damage was discovered.

         On January 7, 2016, the aircraft was taken to the Cessna Service Center in San Antonio, Texas for a pre-purchase inspection (“Second Inspection”). During the Second Inspection, significant corrosion was discovered.

         Plaintiff contends that the extensive corrosion that was discovered during the Second Inspection must have existed during the First Inspection. As a result, on November 23, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in state court, and Defendant later removed the case to this Court. In its amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant breached their contract to conduct the First Inspection and that Defendant negligently performed the First Inspection by failing to discover the extensive corrosion on the aircraft. (Doc. No. 18).

         Pending before the Court are two Daubert motions. The Court will address each motion in turn.

         II. Daubert Analysis

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 provides the following:

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 case.

F.R.E. 702. Rule 702 requires the district court to perform a gatekeeping function for expert testimony. See U.S. v. Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004). As explained by the Frazier court:

This [gatekeeping] function “inherently require[s] the trial court to conduct an exacting analysis” of the foundations of expert opinions to ensure they meet the standards for admissibility under Rule 702. The importance of Daubert's gatekeeping requirement cannot be overstated. As the Supreme Court framed it in Kumho Tire: “[T]he objective of that requirement is to ensure the reliability and relevancy of expert testimony. It is to make certain that an expert, whether basing testimony upon professional studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field.” The district court's role is especially significant since the expert's opinion “can be both powerful and quite misleading because of the difficulty in evaluating it.”

Id. (citations omitted). With this in mind, the Court addresses the parties' motions.

         III. Plaintiff's Expert, ...


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