Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Experts — When an Evidentiary Daubert Hearing Is Unnecessary

From Capellupo v. Nassau Health Care Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50523 (E.D.N.Y. June 16, 2009):

Although a Rule 104(a) pretrial evidentiary hearing is often necessary to address Daubert issues, such hearings are unnecessary if the objections to the testimony being raised do not turn on factual issues and, thus, can be decided based on the written submissions and evidence. See generally Michael H. Graham, 2 Handbook of Fed. Evidence § 702.5 (5th ed. 2002) ("In light of the Supreme Court's emphasis of broad discretion granted to trial courts in assessing the relevance and reliability of expert testimony, and in the absence of any authority mandating such a hearing, we conclude that trial courts are not compelled to conduct pretrial hearings in order to discharge the gatekeeping function."). Here, neither party requested such a hearing. Moreover, defendants' objections to the testimony of plaintiff's purported expert deal with his qualifications and raise legal arguments based on undisputed facts about such qualifications. Thus, these Daubert issues can be decided based on the written record. Accordingly, the Court finds that a hearing is unnecessary under the particular circumstances of this case. See, e.g., Nelson v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 243 F.3d 244, 248-49 (6th Cir. 2001) (holding that district court was not required to hold Daubert hearing before excluding evidence); Oddi v. Ford Motor Co., 234 F.3d 136, 154-55 (3d Cir. 2000) (rejecting argument that Daubert hearing was required where court had reviewed record which included two depositions, a declaration, and an expert report); see also Colon v. BIC USA, Inc., 199 F. Supp. 2d 53, 71 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) ("Nothing in Daubert, or any other Supreme Court or Second Circuit case, mandates that the district court hold a Daubert hearing before ruling on the admissibility of expert testimony, even where such ruling is dispositive of a summary judgment motion.").

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