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United States v. Dental Dreams, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 29, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and STATE OF NEW MEXICO, ex rel. JOSE HERNANDEZ-GIL, DMD, Relator Plaintiff,
v.
DENTAL DREAMS, LLC A/K/A DENTAL EXPERTS, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company, SAMEERA TASNIM HUSSAIN, DMD, individually and as an organization agent, DENTAL DREAMS, LLC, a New Mexico limited liability company, FAMILY SMILES, LLC, a New Mexico limited liability company, FRANK VON WESTERNHAGEN, DDS, individually and as an organization agent, KOS SERVICES, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company, and KHURRAM HUSSAIN, ESQ., individually And as an organization agent, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Opinions and Testimony of Defendants' Expert Witness (ECF No. 113). This Court, having considered the pleadings, motions, briefs, evidence, and relevant law, concludes Plaintiff's motion to exclude certain testimony and opinions of Defendants' expert William D. Goren, Esq., should be granted in part and denied in part as described herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The relevant facts concerning Plaintiff's ADA claim are set forth more fully in the Court's recently filed Memorandum Opinion and Order on Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         William D. Goren is an attorney with experience with ADA law and compliance issues. See Expert Report of William Goren 1, ECF No. 113-1. He is the author of four editions of Understanding the ADA, published by the American Bar Association, and is a frequent presenter and writer on the ADA and disability accommodation. Id. Additionally, he served as a tenured professor and ADA instructional coordinator, teaching the subject of ADA, among others. Id.

         Plaintiff seeks to exclude the following opinions by Mr. Goren: (1) the sole accommodation on which Dr. Hernandez-Gil insisted was not reasonable because it posed an undue hardship from an operational perspective on Defendants' business; (2) Dr. Hernandez-Gil failed to fulfill his duty to engage in an interactive process with Defendants concerning reasonable accommodation for his disability because he broke up the process; and (3) Dr. Hernandez-Gil's dog, Boscoe, was not a service animal at the time of Dr. Hernandez-Gil's employment. Plaintiff did not depose Mr. Goren.

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 provides:

         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 (2011). See also 103 Investors I, L.P. v. Square D Co., 470 F.3d 985, 990 (10th Cir. 2006) (describing analysis as two-steps: (1) determining whether expert is qualified and (2) whether the expert's opinion is reliable under Daubert principles[1]). The touchstone of admissibility under Rule 702 is helpfulness to the trier of fact. Werth v. Makita Elec. Works, Ltd., 950 F.2d 643, 648 (10th Cir. 1991).

         A court should consider the following non-exhaustive and non-dispositive factors in determining whether particular expert scientific testimony is reliable: whether the expert's technique or theory can and has been tested; the theory has been subject to peer review and publication; the known or potential rate of error of the technique or theory when applied; the existence and maintenance of standards and controls; and the general acceptance of the methodology in the relevant scientific community. See Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 149-50 (1999); 103 Investors, 470 F.3d at 990 (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593-94). The Daubert Court clarified that the focus must be solely on the principles and methodology, not on the conclusions they ...


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