United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge.
Anthony Provanzano (“plaintiff”) brought this
lawsuit against defendants MTD Products Co. and Lowe's
Home Centers, LLC (collectively, “defendants”)
arising out of an accident on a riding lawn mower during
which four of plaintiff's fingers were amputated.
party filed a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of
the other party's expert witness. For the following
reasons, defendants' motion to exclude the testimony of
Mr. Kevin Sevart will be denied and plaintiff's motion to
exclude the testimony of Dr. Sandra Metzler will be denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
the afternoon of October 12, 2014, Provanzano began to mow
his lawn. After making a few passes around his yard, he
surmised that the blade on his riding mower might be clogged.
He dismounted the mower and reached under the mower's
cutting deck. When he removed his hand, he realized that his
fingers were badly injured. Ultimately, four of
Provanzano's fingers were amputated.
filed a complaint against defendants in Massachusetts state
court in March, 2015, alleging four causes of action against
each defendant: 1) breach of implied and express warranty, 2)
negligence, 3) violations of the Massachusetts Consumer
Protection Act (M.G.L. c. 93A) and 4) double or treble
damages under that same statute. In April, 2015, defendants
removed plaintiff's case to this Court and subsequently
filed answers to each of the counts.
before this Court are defendants' motion in limine to
exclude the testimony of Mr. Kevin Sevart and plaintiff's
motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Dr. Sandra
Motions in Limine
admission of expert evidence is governed by Fed.R.Evid. 702
which codified the Supreme Court's holding in Daubert
v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), and
its progeny. United States v.
Diaz, 300 F.3d 66, 73 (1st Cir. 2002). Rule 702
charges a district court with determining whether: 1)
“scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge
will assist the trier of fact, ” 2) the expert is
qualified “by knowledge, skill, experience, training,
or education” to testify on that subject, 3) the
expert's proposed testimony is based upon
“sufficient facts or data, ” 4) that testimony is
the product of “reliable principles and methods”
and 5) the expert “applies the principles and methods
reliably to the facts of the case.” The Court must be
vigilant in exercising its gatekeeper role because of the
latitude given to expert witnesses to express their opinions
on matters about which they have no firsthand knowledge and
because an expert's testimony may be given substantial
weight by the jury due to the expert's status. See
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595; Kumho Tire Co.
v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 148 (1999).
Court must nonetheless keep in mind that vigorous
cross-examination, presentation of contrary evidence and
careful instruction on the burden of proof are the
traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but
admissible evidence. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596. If an
expert's testimony is within “the range where
experts might reasonably differ, ” the jury, not the
trial court, should be the one to decide among the
conflicting views of different experts. Kumho Tire,
526 U.S. at 153. When a dispute exists between two experts
who both use reliable methods, that dispute “[goes] to
the weight, not the admissibility, of the testimony.”
Cummings v. Standard Register Co.,
265 F.3d 56, 65 (1st Cir. 2001).
Mr. Kevin Sevart
plans to have Kevin Sevart testify as an expert witness
regarding the defects in defendants' lawn mower and the
causation of plaintiff's injuries. Mr. Sevart is a
licensed mechanical engineer with a specific focus on outdoor
power equipment. He concludes that the lawn mower was
defective 1) in its design as to certain characteristics
relating to the stopping time of the mower's blade, 2)
the design of the layout of certain controls and 3) in its
warnings. He ...