Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Katterman v. Salt Lake County

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

March 30, 2017

JAMES KATTERMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
SALT LAKE COUNTY, POLICE CHIEF JAMES D. WINDER, KEVIN S. BARRETT, OFFICER KYLE GLEUE, OFFICER JARED ANGELL, UNIFIED POLICE DEPARTMENT OF GREATER SALT LAKE, also known as or functioning as SALT LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF, and JOHN DOES 1-15, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE TESTIMONY OF PLAINTIFF'S EXPERT SYLVAN MALIS (ECF No. 60)

          EVELYN J. FURSE United States Magistrate Judge

         Defendants Salt Lake County, Police Chief James D. Winder, Officer Kevin S. Barrett, Officer Kyle Gleue, Officer Jared Angell, the Unified Police Department, and the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office (“Defendants”) move, in limine, to exclude the expert testimony of James Katterman's Expert, Sylvan Malis, used in Mr. Katterman's Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 57). (Defs.' Obj. to, & Mot. in Limine to, Exclude Test. of Pl.s' Canine Expert Sylvan Malis (Mot. to Exclude), ECF No. 60.) Defendants seek to exclude Mr. Malis's testimony on four specific propositions:

[1.] “Mr. Malis, while stating he had received no specific training in analyzing dog bites, did not concede that he had no expertise in this matter. He said he had received medical/EMT training that, combined with his experience with dogs, gave him the ability to distinguish what he called a “laceration” from a “puncture.” (Doc. 57, Response to Defendants Fact #52)
[2.] “Sylvan Malis testified he reviewed a summary of Vortex and Officer Barrett's training certifications in preparation for his report” (Doc. 57, Fact #11) (emphasis added)
[3.] “Mr. Malis testified that because Vortex was not trained in tracking or trailing, it was unreasonable for Officer Barrett to allow Vortext [sic] to engage Mr. Katterman because he could not have known that it was Mr. Katterman sitting next to the driveway.” (Doc. 57, Fact #12)
[4.] “Mr. Malis testified that, given the documents he had reviewed, it was his opinion that Officer Barrett was not adequately trained and supervised as a K-9 handler.” (Doc. 57, Fact 13)

(Mot. to Exclude 2, ECF No. 60.) Having considered the parties' briefing and the case record, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion.[1] The Court will exclude Mr. Malis's testimony on each proposition as inadmissible expert testimony for purposes of the Summary Judgment Motion.

         DISCUSSION

         To determine the admissibility of an expert opinion, this Court applies a two-part test. Conroy v. Vilsack, 707 F.3d 1163, 1168 (10th Cir. 2013). First, Mr. Katterman bears the burden of demonstrating that the expert has the qualifications to opine on the designated topic by reason of “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Evid. 702). For the proffered expert to pass this initial hurdle, s/he must possess expertise in the “particular field” of the subject opined upon, or the subject must fall “within the reasonable confines” of the person's expertise. Id. at 1168-69 (quoting LifeWise Master Funding v. Telebank, 374 F.3d 917, 928 (10th Cir. 2004); Ralston v. Smith & Nephew Richards, Inc., 275 F.3d 965, 970 (10th Cir. 2001)). The second step asks whether “the proposed expert testimony is both reliable and relevant.” Id. at 1168 (quoting United States v. Rodriguez-Felix¸ 450 F.3d 1117, 1122 (10th Cir. 2006)). In applying this test, the Court functions as a gatekeeper, ensuring that it only admits testimony from qualified witnesses with “knowledge [that] will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.” Fed.R.Evid. 702(a); see also Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589 (1993) (describing gatekeeper function).

         Defendants move to exclude Mr. Katterman's use of Sylvan Malis with regards to four distinct propositions. (Mot. to Exclude 2, ECF No. 60 (“Mr. Katterman cites to Mr. Malis for the following four propositions…”).) The Court will discuss the first proposition separately and then address the second, third, and fourth proposition together because they share the same subject matter.

         I. The Court Finds Mr. Malis's Expert Testimony on Proposition #1 Inadmissible

          Defendants seek to exclude consideration of Mr. Malis's opinion that Mr. Katterman suffered a laceration not a puncture wound. (Mot. to Exclude 2, ECF No. 60.) Defendants challenge Mr. Malis's medical expertise and the reliability of his conclusions regarding the appearance of dog bites. (Mot. to Exclude 9-10, ECF No. 60.) Defendants argue that Mr. Katterman's failure to address Sylvan Malis's medical expertise in his Opposition, and how it qualifies him to opine on dog bites, means he concedes the point. (Reply Mem. in Supp. of Defs.' Obj. to, and Mot. in Limine to, Exclude Test. of Pl.s' Canine Expert Sylvan Malis (Reply) 2-3, ECF No. 65.) The burden of showing the admissibility of the testimony falls on the expert testimony's proponent. Conroy, 707 F.3d at 1168. Absent any argument to the contrary, (see Pl.s' Resp. Mem. in Opp'n to Defs.' Obj. to, and Mot. in Limine to, Exclude Test. of Pl.s' Canine Expert Sylvan Malis (Opp'n), ECF No. 64), the Court excludes Mr. Malis's opinion concerning whether Mr. Katterman suffered a laceration or a puncture for purposes of summary judgment.

         II. The Court finds Mr. Malis's Expert Testimony on Propositions #2, #3, and #4 Inadmissible

          The Defendants seek to exclude Mr. Malis's opinion that Officer Barrett and Vortex received inadequate training, rendering deployment of Vortex unreasonable, as well as Mr. Malis's testimony that he reviewed summaries of Officer Barrett and Vortex's training certifications. (Mot. to Exclude 2, ECF No. 60.) For the Court to admit Mr. Malis's expert testimony regarding Vortex's training and capabilities, as well as Officer Barret's training, Mr. Katterman must demonstrate Mr. Malis's qualifications in this subject area, either through expertise in the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.