United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
U.S. SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
ATLANTIC BIOLOGICALS CORPORATION,
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S DAUBERT MOTION TO PRECLUDE
THE OPINIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S EXPERTS BURL DANIEL AND DR.
JONATHAN GOODMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
insurance coverage declaratory judgment action, Defendant
Atlantic Biologicals Corporation (“Atlantic”) has
filed a Daubert motion designed to preclude specific
opinions of Plaintiff U.S. Specialty Insurance Company
(“USSIC”)'s experts Burl Daniel and Dr.
Michael Liebschner. [ECF No. 53]. USSIC filed a response in
opposition [ECF No. 58');">58] and Atlantic filed a reply [ECF No.
61]. For the reasons outlined below, the Court grants
in part and denies in part
Atlantic's Daubert motion as it relates to
Daniel and denies Atlantic's
Daubert motion as it relates to Liebschner.
a case about insurance coverage for losses relating to
Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma under a marine insurance
policy issued by Plaintiff U.S. Specialty Insurance Company
(“USSIC”). USSIC issued a marine insurance policy
to Atlantic. [ECF No. 29-2, ¶ 1]. The Policy provides
insurance coverage for all physical damage to Atlantic's
“Goods Insured” during transit from warehouse to
warehouse and while being housed in certain warehouse
locations. [ECF No. 46-1, pp. 2, 51]. Specifically,
“Goods Insured” is defined as:
“[c]onsisting principally of: New Pharmaceutical
Products and other goods incidental to the business of the
Assured [(Insured)], professionally packed for export.”
Id. at p. 2.
September 29, 2017, Atlantic reported a claim to USSIC due to
Hurricane Maria for loss to implant trays and surgical
implants at a storage unit located at Avenida 65 Infanteria
#7500, Carolina, Puerto Rico 00987 (“Carolina, PR
Claim”). [ECF No. 29-2, ¶¶ 30, 32]. On
November 9, 2017, Atlantic reported a claim due to Hurricane
Irma for water damage to non-invasive surgical endoscopy
equipment and parts at 16000 N.W. 49t');">16000 N.W. 49th Avenue Miami Gardens,
Florida 33014 (“Miami Gardens Claim”).
Id. at ¶¶ 31, 33.
denied coverage for the Carolina, PR Claim due to its
position that the damaged goods were not “Goods
Insured” under the Policy. Id. at ¶ 45.
And USSIC denied coverage for the Miami Gardens Claim because
Atlantic failed to provide requested additional information
regarding the claim and its position that endoscopy
instruments are not “Goods Insured” under the
Policy. [ECF Nos. 29-2, ¶ 47; 9-3]. USSIC also
challenges Atlantic's position that the damaged goods
were a total loss and cannot be re-processed. [ECF No. 58');">58,
subsequently filed this lawsuit seeking a declaration from
the Court that there is no coverage under the Policy for the
Carolina, PR Claim and the Miami Gardens Claim because the
damaged goods do not fit within the definition of
“Goods Insured, ” and that the doctrine of
uberrimae fidei voids the policy because Atlantic
failed to volunteer a material fact to it -- that it was
involved in a prior loss. [ECF No. 46, pp. 23-24]. As alleged
in USSIC's Second Amended Complaint, the uberrimae
fidei doctrine “is an established rule of federal
marine insurance law which holds that an insured party has a
duty of utmost good faith to disclose all information known
to it that materially affects the risk insured
against.” [ECF No. 46, ¶ 98].
the Court denied USSIC's summary judgment motion and
found that (1) the “Goods Insured” provision is
ambiguous here, and if interpreted in Atlantic's favor,
does not bar coverage for Atlantic's claims; and (2) the
parties likely contracted out of the uberrimae fidei
doctrine, but, even if they had not, the questions of whether
the purported omission was material and relied upon by USSIC
are disputed questions of fact. [ECF No. 57].
The Daubert Legal Standard
admission of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of
Evidence 702, as explained and refined by the United States
Supreme Court in Daubert and Kumho Tire Co.,
Ltd. v. Carmichael, 26 U.S. 137');">526 U.S. 137 (1999). Under this
framework, district courts are charged with a gatekeeping
function “to ensure that speculative, unreliable expert
testimony does not reach the jury.” McCorvey v.
Baxter Healthcare Corp., 298 F.3d 1253');">298 F.3d 1253, 1256 (11th Cir.
2002). The district court has “broad discretion in
determining whether to admit or exclude expert testimony, and
its decision will be disturbed on appeal only if it is
manifestly erroneous.” Evans v. Mathis Funeral
Home, 2d 266');">996 F.2d 266, 268 (11th Cir. 1993).
702 provides that:
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