United States District Court, D. Maine
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS'
MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE PATRICK DRISCOLL FROM OPINING
REGARDING MARINE ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS STANDARDS
H. RICH III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
maritime breach of contract action, the defendants, Sea3,
LLC, Robert H. Larsen, and Stephen Taylor (together,
“Sea3”), seek exclude Patrick Driscoll, an owner
of plaintiff Maine Windjammers (“Windjammers”)
and a licensed commercial electrician, from rendering an
opinion regarding marine electrical system standards that may
apply to the S/V Halie & Matthew (the
“Vessel”). See Motion in Limine
To Exclude Patrick Driscoll from Opining Regarding Marine
Electrical Systems Standards (“Motion”) (ECF No.
51) at 1-2. Because I find that Mr. Driscoll is sufficiently
qualified, I deny the Motion.
Applicable Legal Standard
Rule of Evidence 702 provides:
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
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and
methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702.
applying Rule 702, the district court serves as the
gatekeeper for expert testimony by ‘ensuring that [it]
. . . both rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to
the task at hand.'” Milward v. Rust-Oleum
Corp., 820 F.3d 469, 473 (1st Cir. 2016) (quoting
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., 509 U.S.
579, 597 (1993)). “In carrying out this responsibility,
the trial court must bear in mind that an expert with
appropriate credentials and an appropriate foundation for the
opinion at issue must be permitted to present testimony as
long as the testimony has a ‘tendency to make the
existence of any fact that is of consequence to the
determination of the action more probable or less probable
than it would be without the evidence.'”
Ramírez-González, 605 F.3d 109, 115 (1st
Cir. 2010) (quoting Fed.R.Evid. 401). “A district court
enjoys substantial discretion to decide whether to admit or
exclude relevant expert testimony.” Id.
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
spring of 2017, Windjammers and Sea3, LLC, entered into an
agreement that Sea3, LLC, would lease the Vessel with an
option to purchase her. Plaintiff's Opposition to
Defendants' Motion in Limine To Exclude Patrick
Driscoll from Opining Regarding Marine Electrical Systems
Standards (“Opposition”) (ECF No. 54) at 2. The
agreement was memorialized in the Vessel Lease and Option to
Purchase (the “Contract”), signed by
representatives of both parties on March 17, 2017. Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 13) ¶ 7; Contract, Exh. A (ECF No.
took possession of the Vessel in March 2017 and made
significant changes to her. Amended Complaint ¶¶
12-13. Windjammers alleges that Sea3 abandoned the Vessel in
disrepair in September 2017, after failing to complete
required repairs and improvements and cure a payment default.
Id. ¶¶ 14-17. Sea3, on the other hand,
contends that the Vessel was delivered to Sea3 in an
unseaworthy state, causing Sea3 to incur costs of
improvements and repairs. Defendants/Counterclaim Plaintiffs
Sea 3, LLC's, Robert H. Larsen, Jr.'s, and Stephen
Taylor's Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Amended
Counterclaims (“Answer”) (ECF No. 38) ¶ 32;
Amended Counterclaims, commencing at page 13 of Answer,
¶¶ 40-41. Windjammers sues Sea3 for breach of
contract, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, and damage
to the Vessel during custody. Amended Complaint ¶¶
21-53. Sea3, LLC, brings a counterclaim against Windjammers
for misrepresentation, fraud in the inducement, breach of