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Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 25, 2017

SERGIO L. RAMIREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANS UNION, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING MOTIONS IN LIMINE DKT NOS. 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258

          JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The Court held a pretrial conference on May 18, 2017, during which the parties argued their respective motions in limine. As stated on the record at the hearing, the Court rules as set forth below.

         PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE

         1.Plaintiff's Motion in Limine No. 1, Dkt. No. 243

         GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The district court holds a “gatekeeping” role with respect to the admission of expert testimony. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597 (1993). In determining admissibility, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 allows a witness that is “qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” to offer opinion or other testimony only 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.

         Expert testimony must be both relevant and reliable. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589. “Relevancy simply requires that [t]he evidence ... logically advance a material aspect of the party's case” whereas reliability requires that the expert have “a reliable basis in the knowledge and experience of the relevant discipline.” Estate of Barabin v. AstenJohnson, Inc., 740 F.3d 457, 463 (9th Cir. 2014) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

         The inquiry into the admissibility of expert testimony is “a flexible one” where “[s]haky but admissible evidence is to be attacked by cross examination, contrary evidence, and attention to the burden of proof, not exclusion.” Primiano v. Cook, 598 F.3d 558, 564 (9th Cir. 2010). “When an expert meets the threshold established by Rule 702 as explained in Daubert, the expert may testify and the jury decides how much weight to give that testimony.” Id. at 565; see also i4i Ltd. P'ship v. Microsoft Corp., 598 F.3d 831, 852 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (“When the methodology is sound, and the evidence relied upon sufficiently related to the case at hand, disputes about the degree of relevance or accuracy (above this minimum threshold) may go to the testimony's weight, but not its admissibility.”).

         Defendant's expert Jaco Sadie is a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, Inc., a financial consulting firm, who was retained to opine regarding whether, during the class period, it was reasonable and within industry practices for Trans Union to deliver OFAC alert information based on a name-only matching protocol where the match results were listed as a “potential match.” (Sadie Report pp.1-2, 4-6.) Plaintiff moves in limine to prevent Mr. Sadie from testifying regarding (1) the reasonableness of Trans Union's procedures and (2) Trans Union's compliance with OFAC requirements.

         The motion is granted as to the first subject area: Mr. Sadie cannot testify as to the reasonableness of Trans Union's procedures-this is a question for the jury. Mr. Sadie may give an opinion based on hypothetical facts, but he cannot be asked to specifically opine on Trans Union's conduct or whether it is reasonable for financial institutions to rely on end users to perform “human comparison” of OFAC information. Likewise, Mr. Sadie cannot opine as to whether Dublin Nissan's conduct here was in error or unreasonable-counsel can make this argument to the jury, but it is not within the appropriate scope of expert testimony. As for the second subject area, Mr. Sadie can testify generally regarding financial industry practices and OFAC requirements. Further, to the extent Defendant lays a proper foundation, he may also testify regarding the technological capabilities of consumer reporting agencies with respect to interdiction software.

         2. Plaintiff's Motion in ...


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