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Ajibade v. Wilcher

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

June 11, 2018

SOLOMAN OLUDAMISI AJIBADE, as natural parent of Mathew Ajibade; and ADENIKE HANNAH AJIBADE, as natural parent of Mathew Ajibade; THE ESTATE OF MATHEW AJIBADE; and CHRIS OLADAPO, executor; Plaintiffs,
v.
JOHN WILCHER, in his official capacity as Chatham County Sheriff; CORIZON HEALTH, INC.; GREGORY BROWN; FREDERICK BURKE; ABRAM BURNS; MARK CAPERS; MAXINE EVANS; ANDREW EVANS-MARTINEZ; PAUL FOLSONE; DEBRA JOHNSON; JASON KENNY; and ERIC VINSON; Defendants.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM T. MOORE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Exclude the Testimony of Darrell Ross. (Doc. 201). For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. To the extent that Defendants wish to use Ross as an expert to offer testimony regarding his interpretation of the law and the legal sufficiency of Plaintiffs' claims, this testimony is excluded. To the extent, however, Defendants wish to use Ross as an expert to offer his interpretation of the facts in this case as applied to his knowledge and expertise of law enforcement practices and in-custody deaths, this testimony is admissible.

         BACKGROUND

         After experiencing a mental health crisis, Mathew Ajibade was detained and transported to the Chatham County Detention Center ("CCDC") on January 1, 2015. (Doc. 115 at 2.) While waiting to be processed, Ajibade failed to comply with a sheriff deputy's instruction to sit down. (Id. at 3.) His non-compliance led to a physical altercation between Ajibade and multiple officers. (Id.) As a result, Ajibade was allegedly placed in a restraint chair and repeatedly tasered in his groin area. (Id. at 4.) He was then placed in a separate cell where Plaintiffs allege that jail staff failed to provide him with adequate medical care as required by law. (Id. at 4-6.) Ajibade was found dead in his cell nearly two hours later. (Id. at 5.)

         Subsequently, Ajibade's parents, Soloman Oledamisi and Adenike Hannah Ajibade, and his estate brought suit citing various constitutional and state law violations. (Doc. 1.) Against the various correctional officers involved[1], Plaintiffs brought suit seeking relief in Count One for the use of excessive force, and Count Two for alleged deliberate indifference to serious physical and mental health needs. (Id. at 10-13.) Against Defendant Sheriff Wilcher[2], Plaintiffs brought suit seeking relief in Count Three for maintaining a pattern and practice of substandard medical conditions for detainees, and Count Four for maintaining a pattern and practice of the excessive use of force against detainees. (Id. at 14-23.) Plaintiffs also brought suit against Defendant Wilcher and the Defendants Corrections Officers in Count Five for wrongful death, and Count Six for assault and battery.[3] (Id. at 23-25.)

         After extensive discovery, both parties have identified a number of experts. Both sides have filed several motions seeking the exclusion of many of the identified experts in this case. At this time, the Court will only consider Plaintiffs' Motion to Exclude Darrell Ross.

         ANALYSIS

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The admission of expert testimony is controlled by Federal Rule of Evidence 702:

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.

         Rule 702 was amended in response to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597 (1993), which compelled district courts to perform a gatekeeping function concerning the admissibility of expert testimony. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has explained that district courts fulfill that function by engaging in a three part inquiry, considering whether

(1) the 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 to be determined by the sort of inquiry mandated in Daubert; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of fact, through the application of scientific, technical, or specialized expertise, to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.

United States v. Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004). While there will often be some overlap between these concepts of qualification, reliability, and helpfulness, they are distinct concepts that courts should be careful not to conflate. Quiet Tech. DC-8, Inc. v. Hurel-Dubois, UK, Ltd., 326 F.3d 1333, 1341 (11th Cir. 2003) . The burden of establishing that these requirements are met rests with the proponent of the expert testimony, and not the Daubert challenger. McCorvey v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 298 F.3d 1253, 1257 (11th Cir. 2002).

         I. MOTION TO ...


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