United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
ROBERT BROWN, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ELECTROLUX HOME PRODUCTS, INC. d/b/a FRIGIDAIRE, Defendant.
LISA GODBEV WOOD, JUDGE
Court gave Plaintiff Robert Brown the chance to show that
mold, mildew, and odors were likely to be problems throughout
the thousands of washing machines that could be covered by
his proposed class. Dkt. No. 224. Brown located two alleged
experts. Dr. Donald J. Reinhardt, a microbiologist, concluded
that the problem "would be more or less
universal"-based on mold samples taken from inside
Brown's washing machine, which had been sitting unused
for six years, most recently in storage. Joseph Manna, a
washing-machine technician, said the problem will be
universal, based on his experience working on 40 or 50
Electrolux Home Products, Inc.'s ("Electrolux")
motions to exclude these opinions, dkt. nos. 235, 238, will
be GRANTED for the reasons below.
makes Frigidaire front-loading washing machines. Dkt. No. 224
at 1. These have rubber seals, or "bellows, " to
stop water leaks. Id. Frigidaires originally used
"a convoluted bellow, which is not as smooth as the
S-shaped bellow that is now available." Id. at
1-2. Brown bought a Frigidaire machine with convoluted
bellows. Id. at 2. He claims convoluted bellows trap
water, causing mildew, mold, and odors. Id. He found
mildew in his machine. Id.
brought suit. Id. He moved for class certification.
Dkt. No. 158. This Court granted it. Dkt. No. 201. The
Eleventh Circuit vacated and remanded. Brown v.
Electrolux Home Prods., Inc., 817 F.3d 1225 (11th Cir.
2016). Brown renewed his motion. Dkt. No. 219. The Court
denied it, but opened discovery as to whether the defect
Brown alleged is likely to manifest throughout his proposed
class. Dkt. No. 224. Electrolux now moves to exclude two of
the purported experts Brown has secured. Dkt. Nos. 235, 238.
The parties have briefed the motions, which are now ripe for
disposition. Dkt. Nos. 246-47, 252-53.
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.
this Rule, "the trial judge must ensure that any and all
[expert] testimony or evidence admitted is reliable."
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579,
589 (1993). "Proposed testimony must be supported by
appropriate validation-i.e., *good grounds, ' based on
what is known." Id. at 590.
In certain cases, it will be appropriate for the trial judge
to ask, for example, how often an engineering expert's
experience-based methodology has produced erroneous results,
or whether such a method is generally accepted in the
relevant engineering community. Likewise, it will at times be
useful to ask even of a witness whose expertise is based
purely on experience . . . whether his preparation is of a
kind that others in the field would recognize as acceptable.
Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 151
inquiry envisioned by Rule 702 is . . .a flexible one. Its
overarching subject is the . . . validity ... of the
principles that underlie a proposed submission."
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594-95. "The objective of
that requirement . . . is to make certain that an expert,
whether basing testimony upon professional studies or
personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same level
of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an
expert in the relevant field." Kumho Tire Co.,
526 U.S. at 152. To that end, the court asks whether:
(1) [T]he expert is qualified to testify competently
regarding the matters he intends to address; (2) the
methodology by which the expert reaches his conclusions is
sufficiently reliable as determined by the sort of inquiry
mandated in Daubert; and (3) the testimony assists
the trier of fact, through the application of scientific,