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Richard v. Hinshaw

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

December 17, 2013

RONELL RICHARD, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT HINSHAW, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MONTI L. BELOT, District Judge.

Before the court are the following:

1. Defendants' Daubert motion (Doc. 423);
2. Plaintiff's response (Doc. 456); and
3. Defendants' reply (Doc. 459).

A hearing was held on December 4, 2013. Plaintiff's experts who are the subject of the motion appeared and were extensively questioned.

Background

On February 15, 2008, plaintiff's decedent, Edgar Richard, was severely beaten in his cell at the Sedgwick County Jail by Manual Diaz, Jr., a jailer. Richard had been an inmate for 3½ months and had frequently conducted himself in various bizarre ways. Prior to his incarceration, Richard had a history of mental problems. Richard died February 1, 2010.

Plaintiff brought 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and pendent state law claims against the individuals and entities who he believes are responsible for Richard's alleged lack of proper care and treatment while in custody. The parties are familiar with the claims and defenses which are set out in the pretrial order, Doc. 422. Discovery has been extensive, to put it charitably, and voluminous dispositive motions are pending.

The witnesses who are subject of the Daubert motion are Stuart Grassian, Kathryn Burns and Ken Katsaris. Grassian and Burns are psychiatrists; Katsaris has experience in law enforcement and jails. Each witness prepared reports based on their review of discovery materials. In addition, Grassian and Burns were deposed at length. Katsaris, for some reason, was not.

Applicable Standards

Defendants do not directly challenge any of the witnesses' qualifications and, to their counsels' credit, make only limited challenges to the opinions of Grassian and Burns. They direct most of their fire at Katsaris. Indeed, defendants want all of Katsaris' opinions excluded.

"Rule 702 sets forth the standard for admission of expert testimony, " U.S. v. Fredette , 315 F.3d 1235, 1239 (10th Cir. 2003), and assigns "to the trial judge the task of ensuring that an expert's testimony both rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to the task at hand." Exclusion of expert testimony is the exception, not the rule. See Advisory Committee Notes concerning the amendment to Rule 702 (noting that "a review of the case law after Daubert shows that the rejection of expert testimony is the exception rather than the rule.")

If an expert is sufficiently qualified, as in this case, then "the court must determine whether the expert's opinion is reliable by assessing the underlying reasoning and methodology." United States v. ...


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