An appeal of a recent Northern District of Ohio decision will soon give the Sixth Circuit another chance to weigh-in on Daubert and the role of experts. In Andersons, Inc. v. LaFarge North America, Inc., the district court granted a $3.2 million judgment in favor of Andersons, Inc. The plaintiff had leased railroad cars to defendant, who was required to return the railcars at the end of the lease in a clean and usable condition. Because the Court held that the railcars were not returned in an acceptable condition, the only issue was the scope and cost of the repairs needed on the railcars to put the lessor in the position it would have been but for the breach.
The district court heard testimony from four experts whose estimates for the repairs ranged from $8.5 million to $646,000. The court found the highest and lowest estimates not credible, and therefore only considered the two “more evenhanded” experts’ estimates of $5 million and $1.9 million. Using a hybrid of those experts’ estimates, the court determined that the cost to bring the railcars into compliance under the lease was $2,456,455. Adding the cost of hold-over rent and switch fees, as provided by the lease, the total judgment Andersons, Inc. received was $3.2 million. This case may provide the Sixth Circuit with an opportunity to further elaborate upon its recent rulings on Rule 702 and Daubert.