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Skarzynski Black Secures Exclusion of Expert Report in Coverage Litigation

March 20, 2017
Skarzynski Black attorney Alexis J. Rogoski, representing Scottsdale Insurance Company, prevailed on a motion to strike an expert report submitted by Commercial Ventures, Inc., an insured seeking crime coverage for an alleged theft from its corporate affiliate in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2), experts who provide a written report must make a detailed and complete disclosure of their opinions.  The report cannot be vague, and a party may not submit a preliminary report as a placeholder for later enhancement.  See Salgado v. Gen. Motors Corp., 150 F.3d 735, 741 n.2 (7th Cir. 1998).  Commercial Ventures offered the report of a forensic accountant to speak to the nature and extent of its theft loss.

The accountant’s report was expressly couched as being ‘preliminary,’ and cited a number of additional documents that she would require to reach final conclusions on the losses claimed by Commercial Ventures.  Skarzynski Black, on behalf of Scottsdale, persuaded a federal magistrate judge to strike this report because it inadequately disclosed the opinions to which the accountant intended to testify at trial.  The judge rejected the rationale that the accountant’s opinions could be further developed at trial based on Scottsdale’s citation of case law explaining that a purpose of written expert reports is to reduce wasteful deposition testimony on subjects that can be addressed in disclosures.  E.g. Reed v. Binder, 165 F.R.D. 424, 429 (D.N.J. 1996).

The case is Commercial Ventures, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Company, No. 15-cv-08359-BRO-AFM.  The decision striking the expert report can be found at Dkt. No. 97.

To review the decision, click here.