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  • Q.

    But you cannot independently verify that?

  • A.

    Oh, I might, but I haven’t tried to.

NR 61:Tab 1 at 80. Later in his deposition, in response to the request that he explain the “basis for saying that a properly functioning belt would [have kept Clark] from reaching the roof rail,” Lafferty summarily replied, “[t]he lap belt would hold him down.” Id. at

  • 123.

    When pressed, Lafferty offered the following testimony:

    • Q.

      And what testing or data base do you rely upon in offering that opinion.

    • A.

      My experience.

    • Q.

      Is that it?

    • A.

      That’s it.

Ibid. (emphasis added).

The district court gave two independent grounds for striking the foregoing testimony. First, it reasoned that Lafferty’s opinion was inadmissible because it was “not helpful to the trier of fact.” NR 87:16; see Fed. R. Evid. 702. The court saw as “problematic” the fact that

Dr. Lafferty assumes the very fact that Mr. Clark attempts to prove through his expert testimony: that the lap belt failed during the accident sequence. At his deposition, Dr. Lafferty testified that he was assuming that Mr. Clark’s lap belt unlatched during the accident sequence. He specifically testified that he did not address the question whether the lap belt became unlatched during the accident sequence. Because Dr. Lafferty assumes the very fact to be true that his expert testimony is offered to prove, his testimony is not helpful to the trier of fact in determining the same fact in issue.

NR 87:16. Second, the district court concluded that “on the basis of the record before it” it was unable to determine whether the “reasoning or methodology underlying Dr. Lafferty’s proferred testimony” is either “scientifically valid” or “properly * * * applied to this case.” NR 87:16. “The record does not establish,” the court explained, that Lafferty’s “proffered expert testimony adheres to the same standards of intellectual rigor that are demanded in his professional work in the field of biomechanics and engineering.” Ibid. There was “no indication in the record that the bases for Dr. Lafferty’s opinions were subjected to any kind of peer review or publication,” no basis on which to “consider


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