Friday, January 23, 2004

8th Circuit Upholds Testimony from Damages Expert

In litigation over business losses sustained because ADM's insurance broker failed to secure business interruption coverage, the Eighth Circuit has upheld the admissibility of testimony from ADM's damages expert. The broker said the expert failed to account for the impact of hedging on ADM's total losses, but the panel held that "[g]enerally, the factual basis of an expert's opinion goes to credibility of the testimony, not admissibility." The panel also repeated a recurrent 8th Circuit formulation of the test for admissibility under Daubert: "An expert's opinion must be excluded only if it 'is so fundamentally unsupported that it can offer no assistance to the jury.'" See Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Aon Risk Services, Inc., No. 02-3788 (8th Cir. Jan. 21, 2004) (Murphy, Lay, & Fagg, JJ.).
Fed. R. Evid. 702: 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.