United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CHARLES M. BINGHAM, Plaintiff,
RAYTHEON TECHNICAL SERVICES CO., LLC, Defendant.
ENTRY ON MOTION TO EXCLUDE THE EXPERT REPORT AND TESTIMONY OF LANCE SEBERGAGEN, PH.D.
Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge United States District Court Southern District of Indiana
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Raytheon Technical Services Co., LLC’s (“Raytheon”) Motion to Exclude the Expert Report and Testimony of Lance Seberhagen, Ph.D. (“Dr. Seberhagen”) under Federal Rules of Evidence 702 and 403. (Filing No. 50). Plaintiff Charles Bingham (“Mr. Bingham”) has designated Dr. Seberhagen as a putative statistics expert to support his claim that Raytheon terminated his employment because of his age. For the reasons set forth below, Raytheon’s motion is GRANTED.
The Court previously denied Raytheon’s motion for summary judgment (Filing No. 63) and the detailed facts of this case can be found in that Entry. Relevant to the current motion, Dr. Seberhagen completed a report in which he opines that Mr. Bingham’s layoff was not due to a Reduction in Force (“RIF”) or lack of work, but rather was due to his age. He bases this conclusion on a comparison between the number of logistics specialists hired and the number laid off between January 2011 and January 2013. In addition, he performed a statistical analysis from which he concludes that Raytheon’s layoffs from February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013 had an adverse impact on employees age fifty-five and over.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
“Under the Daubert gatekeeping requirement, the district court has a duty to ensure that expert testimony offered under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 is both relevant and reliable.” Jenkins v. Bartlett, 487 F.3d 482, 488–89 (7th Cir. 2007). “Whether proposed expert testimony is sufficiently reliable under Rule 702 is dependent upon the facts and circumstances of the particular case.” Id. The Court is given latitude to determine “not only how to measure the reliability of the proposed expert testimony but also whether the testimony is, in fact, reliable.” Gayton v. McCoy, 593 F.3d 610, 616 (7th Cir. 2010). “The court should [ ] consider the proposed expert’s full range of experience and training in the subject area, as well as the methodology used to arrive at a particular conclusion.” Id.
Raytheon argues that Dr. Seberhagen’s expert report and testimony fail to meet the admissibility standards of Federal Rule of Evidence 702, and the standards set forth in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Specifically, Raytheon argues that Dr. Seberhagen’s opinions should be excluded because he failed to confirm the underlying facts on which he relied and/or relied upon false factual assumptions, and the report is not relevant to Mr. Bingham’s claim.
Rule 702 provides:
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702. Under this framework, the district court performs a “gatekeeping” function to ensure that scientific evidence is both relevant and reliable. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589. This is a three-step analysis: the witness must be qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, Fed.R.Evid. 702; the expert’s reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony must be scientifically reliable, Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592–93; and the testimony must assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. Fed.R.Evid. 702. Raytheon does not question Dr. Seberhagen’s knowledge, skill, training or education; rather, their challenge is based upon the sufficiency of the facts and data used by Dr. Seberhagen, the reliability of his principles and methods used in his analysis, and whether he applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
A. Sufficiency of Facts and Data
Raytheon argues that Dr. Seberhagen failed to confirm the underlying facts upon which he relied, and failed to take into account important facts that would have impacted the outcome of his analysis. Dr. Seberhagen based his analysis upon the assumption that all logistics specialists in pay grades A01 through A04, regardless of geographic location, were similarly situated and could perform the work of any other logistics specialist, and that Raytheon randomly selected employees for layoff without considering any employee-specific factors other than age. Dr. Seberhagen was not provided with Raytheon’s RIF guidelines, documents relating to the layoffs of anyone other than Mr. Bingham, or the testimony of the eight deponents; he testified that he was provided the documents that counsel decided were relevant. Seberhagen Dep. 16:3-17:13 (Filing No. 46-19, at ECF pp. 13-14). Dr. Seberhagen also did not account for the actual attrition that took place during the time period he analyzed, only the number of layoffs compared the number of new hires.
Dr. Seberhagen’s failure to consider facts relating to Raytheon’s RIF guidelines and procedures, the circumstances surrounding the other layoffs, and the differences between the various logistics specialists positions, and employee attrition for reasons other than layoffs, does not satisfy the requirement that expert opinions and testimony be based upon sufficient facts and data. He asserts that, from January 1, 2011 through January 31, 2013, Raytheon hired more new logistics specialists under age 55 than logistics specialists who were laid off; however, he ignores the fact that there was an overall reduction of logistics specialists when looking at all attrition. Dr. Seberhagen did not rely on a complete picture of Raytheon’s layoff practices; instead, he ignored factors other than age in his analysis, and erroneously assumed the fungiblity of all logistics specialists, regardless of job duties, experience, pay, or location, and also ...