United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO EXCLUDE PLAINTIFF'S EXPERT WITNESS
N. PARRISH UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on Defendants' Motion to
Exclude Plaintiff's Expert Witness filed on June 25,
2018. (ECF No. 90). On August 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed its
opposition memorandum,  (ECF No. 103), to which defendants
replied on September 5, 2018, (ECF No. 114). The court held
two days of evidentiary hearings on this motion on September
13, 2018 and September 27, 2018. For the reasons below,
defendants' motion is denied.
August 31, 2015, plaintiff Clayton Thompson filed this
diversity action against a group of oil and gas associations
that had, at different times over the last 44 years, owned or
operated a natural gas compressor station that doubled as a
petroleum storage and freight loading facility (the
“South Compressor Station”). The operative Second
Amended Complaint (“SAC”) asserts six tort-based
causes of action arising from the defendants' alleged
negligent and intentional conduct in the construction and
operation of this station. That conduct, Mr. Thompson
alleges, resulted in the migration of pollutants onto his
property, which is located next to the South Compressor
2012, Mr. Thompson was diagnosed with chronic myeloid
leukemia (“CML”), a cancer that Mr.
Thompson's expert, Dr. Peter Infante, seeks to opine is
more likely than not caused by exposure to benzene-one of the
substances alleged to have contaminated his property.
Although recovery in a toxic tort case requires that a
plaintiff prove both general and specific causation, the
parties have stipulated to resolving the general causation
issue first. (ECF No. 90 at 4 n.2). As a result,
defendants' motion seeks only to exclude Dr.
Infante's opinion that benzene is a cause of CML in the
abstract, rather than the specific cause of Mr.
court held two days of hearings on this motion during which
Dr. Infante and defendants' expert, Dr. Kenneth Mundt,
testified extensively about the epidemiological literature on
benzene exposure and leukemia, as well as the proper weight
that ought to be accorded to the relevant studies.
702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides that:
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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702. The Supreme Court has explained that Rule
702 creates a gatekeeping function for the district court,
“assign[ing] to the trial judge the task of ensuring
that an expert's testimony both rests on a reliable
foundation and is relevant to the task at ...