Sunday, December 1, 2013

KW Plastics v. United States Can Co. case brief

KW Plastics v. United States Can Co. case brief summary
131 F.Supp.2d 1289 (2001)

In litigation between two can manufacturers, plaintiff moved in limine to exclude the expert testimony of defendant and counter-claimant's financial officer as to damages for lost profits and unjust enrichment on counterclaims for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, and tortious interference.


  • Late in the proceedings, defendant and counter-claimant designated a financial officer of the company to testify as an expert to its damages incurred. 
  • The court required him to prepare an expert report and submit to a second deposition. 
  • Plaintiff moved to exclude the testimony. 
  • The court granted the motion, finding the expert's testimony unreliable. 
  • His estimate of building and equipment costs rested upon insufficient facts and data, and he had not solicited current quotes for his estimates regarding machinery. 
  • The purported expert did not explain how his experience led to his conclusions, or why his experience is a sufficient basis for the conclusion. 
  • His testimony as to unjust enrichment also had an insufficient basis, and was further excludable because it amounted to an eleventh-hour ambush, as defendant had not raised the issue previously.

Plaintiff's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of defendant's expert was granted because expert's opinion was not based with any degree of certainty in sound economic principles used in a reliable way. The cumulative effect of his methodological errors rendered both the lost profits and unjust enrichment calculations speculative, without foundation, and with an unknown error rate.

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