United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court pursuant to Deputy Timothy
Virden's Motion to Exclude Certain Opinion Testimony of
Kami Chavis (Doc. # 86), filed on December 13, 2017.
Plaintiff Dylan Tompkins-Holmes responded on January 12,
2018. (Doc. # 95). Virden replied on January 26, 2018. (Doc.
# 105). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted
and Professor Chavis's expert testimony is excluded in
Rule of Evidence 702 states:
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.
Fed. R. Evid. 702.
Rule 702, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), requires district courts to
ensure that any and all scientific testimony or evidence
admitted is both relevant and reliable. See Id. at
589-90. Such Daubert analysis also applies to
non-scientific expert testimony. Kumho Tire Co. v.
Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 147 (1999). District courts
must conduct this gatekeeping function “to ensure that
speculative, unreliable expert testimony does not reach the
jury under the mantle of reliability that accompanies the
appellation ‘expert testimony.'” Rink v.
Cheminova, Inc., 400 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2005).
Eleventh Circuit “requires trial courts acting as
gatekeepers to engage in a ‘rigorous three-part
inquiry.'” Hendrix v. Evenflo Co., 609
F.3d 1183, 1194 (11th Cir. 2010). The district court must
(1) the expert is qualified to testify competently regarding
the matters he intends to address; (2) the methodology by
which the expert reaches his conclusions is sufficiently
reliable as determined by the sort of inquiry mandated in
Daubert; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of
fact, through the application of scientific, technical, or
specialized expertise, to understand the evidence or to
determine a fact in issue.
Id. The proponent of the expert testimony bears the
burden of showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that
the testimony satisfies each of these requirements.
Id. The Court will address each aspect of the
three-part inquiry below.
a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 excessive force case involving the
shooting of Tompkins-Holmes by Deputy Virden. The excessive
force claim against Deputy Virden has survived summary
judgment. (Doc. # 108). The Court granted summary judgment
for Sheriff Gualtieri on the municipal liability § 1983
claims (Doc. # 113), and Sheriff Gualtieri settled the
remaining vicarious liability battery and negligence claims
against him with Tompkins-Holmes. (Doc. # 121). Therefore,
only the excessive force claim against Deputy Virden
Tompkins-Holmes disclosed Professor Chavis's expert
report on September 25, 2017, the day of the expert report
deadline. (Doc. # 87 at 1; Doc. # 49). After providing a
narrative of Tompkins-Holmes's shooting, Professor
Chavis's expert report primarily discusses Sheriff
Gualtieri's policies and Deputy Virden's prior uses
of force as an example of Sheriff Gualtieri's alleged
failure to train and supervise on the use of force. The
In my opinion, the failure to identify and retrain or
reassign Deputy Virden demonstrates inadequate supervision
and oversight. Similarly, given the widespread use of
body-worn cameras and policies involving the retention of
video and audio evidence in officer-involved shootings, the
failure to retain the video or equip the deputies with