Thursday, June 11, 2009

Federal Court Excludes Plaintiff's Expert's Opinion on Law 75 Damages

In Carana Inc. v. Jovani Fashions, 2009 WL 1299569 (D.P.R. May 7, 2009), the federal court (Fuste, J.) granted mid-trial a manufacturer's motion in limine excluding, in part, plaintiff's expert's opinion on lost profits, lost inventory, and loss of goodwill in a case brought under Puerto Rico's Law 75, a statute protecting a dealer from an unjustified impairment, refusal to renew or termination of a dealer's contract. On the eve of trial, the manufacturer moved, under Daubert, to exclude the expert's opinion as unreliable or unhelpful to the jury. With scant judicial authority particularly on the issue of loss of goodwill beyond the plain meaning of the statute, the manufacturer argued, and the court agreed, that the expert's methodology on goodwill was unreliable because Jorge Rodriguez CPA did not consider the fact that the manufacturer created the goodwill of its brand and image worldwide from significant investments in advertising and promotion. On the issue of lost profits, the court also excluded an analysis of "normalization of earnings" first produced at trial during voir dire because it was not disclosed as part of the expert's report. It should be acknowledged that the author represented the manufacturer in that case.