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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Daubert Legal News

Headline Daubert Legal News from LexisNexis®


1st Circuit Rejects Use Of Daubert For Social Security Vocational Experts
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in an April 3 opinion written by a retired U.S. Supreme Court justice, declined to adopt any Daubert standard for the admissibility of vocational expert testimony in Social Security disability proceedings, finding that an expert's reliance on commonly used software to determine the availability of jobs falls well within the flexible "substantial evidence" standard for such proceedings (Rita Purdy v. Nancy A. Berryhill, No. 16-2242, 1st Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 8462).

4th Circuit: Expert Rulings Proper In Case Alleging Navy Gun Silencer Conspiracy
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 28 upheld the conviction of a former Navy director of intelligence for illegally paying a California machinist $1.6 million in government funds to make 349 untraceable gun silencers for the Navy that did not work, finding in part that the trial court properly admitted testimony by the government expert who tested the silencers (United States v. Mark Stuart Landersman, a/k/a Mark Stuart, United States v. Lee Hall, Nos. 16-4066, 16-4067, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 7755).

New Trial Not Warranted For Finding That Offender Is Not Sexually Violent Predator
TOPEKA, Kan. - While a trial court may have erred in admitting the results of two tests conducted by an expert for a man's sexually violent predator proceeding, the error was harmless because the results were established by other evidence, a Kansas appeals court held March 23 in affirming the lower court's finding that the state failed to establish that the man is a sexually violent predator (In re Alejandro Garcia, No. 117677, Kan. App., 2018 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 215).

Federal Magistrate Judge Upholds Validity Of Eye Test Testimony In DUI Cases
YOSEMITE, Calif. - An eye movement field sobriety test is a reliable method for determining if a person is intoxicated, and a trained police officer can testify about his administration of the test and whether the suspect failed it, a California magistrate judge ruled April 16 in convicting a man of drunken driving in Yosemite National Park (United States v. Kenneth S. McAdams, No. 6:16-mj-0063, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63837).

Rulings On Experts Play Into Judge's $3.7 Million Award For Motorcyclist's Death
FLORENCE, S.C. - The widow of a motorcyclist killed in a crash involving a U.S. mail vehicle was awarded $3.7 million in damages from the federal government April 12 by a South Carolina federal judge, who upheld two government experts' use of several driving safety standards and then relied on their testimony to find that the motorcyclist was also slightly at fault for following other cyclists in his group too closely (Kimberly L. Jackson v. United States, No. 4:16-cv-03219, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61922).

Claim That Benzene Caused Leukemia Falls With Dismissal Of Experts, Panel Rules
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 agreed with a trial court that opinions of two experts that long-ago exposure to benzene caused a woman's leukemia failed due in part to a lack of reliability in their methods and that without the expert's testimony, summary judgment on causation to defendant oil companies is appropriate (Samantha Hall v. Conoco Inc., et al., No. 17-6086, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 8944).

Accident Expert's Opinions Fail To Prove Causation, 5th Circuit Panel Finds
NEW ORLEANS - An accident reconstructionist presents only "conclusory allegations" in opining on what caused a timber-laden tractor-trailer to flip over on a highway ramp, so a trial court correctly awarded the timber company summary judgment on the truck driver's negligence lawsuit, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel decided April 3 (Danny Barefoot v. Weyerhaeuser NR Company, No. 17-30362, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 8321).

Economist's Testimony On Animal Welfare Limited In Egg Antitrust MDL
PHILADELPHIA - Although declining to outright bar an economist from offering expert testimony about animal welfare in a price-fixing multidistrict litigation against egg producers, a Pennsylvania federal judge on April 5 made clear that the expert's opinions will be limited, saying he "will not be permitted to appear as an animal welfare expert in economist's clothing" (In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-md-2002, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57990).

Appeals Court Finds Expert's Opinions Do Not Support Summary Judgment Ruling
DETROIT - A Michigan appeals panel on March 13 overturned a trial court judge's ruling awarding partial summary judgment to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit, finding that the judge erred when granting the motion without first deciding if expert testimony submitted on behalf of the plaintiff was admissible under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Victor Khzouz, et al. v. Stephen Mendelson M.D., et al., No. 333901, Mich. App., 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 475).

Federal Judge Cuts Expert's Testimony In Suit Over Traffic Stop
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on April 16 nixed seven out of eight opinions offered by an expert for a man who says he was injured by a police officer's excessive force during a routine traffic stop; the judge then further barred the expert from making several assertions to support his eighth and final opinion (Barsoum S. Israel v. Lieutenant Dean R. Smith, et al., No. 13-cv-0097, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64043).

Expert Opinions In Baby Products Row Cleared By Federal Judge In Louisiana
MONROE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on April 6 rebuffed all attempts by a company in the baby products business to prevent two experts for a rival company from testifying in the rival's breach of contract action, finding that attacks on the experts' opinions are better suited for cross-examination (Luv n' care, Ltd. v. Groupo Rimar, aka Suavinex, No. 14-2491, W.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59271).

Lack Of Reliability Dooms Experts' Opinions In Plane Hangar Fire Suit
FORT WORTH, Texas - Two experts for a man who blames a defective space heater for the loss of his private aircraft and hangar in a fire cannot testify that the heater was defective or that a defect in the heater caused the fire because their opinions are not reliable, a Texas federal judge ruled April 2 (David Barnett v. Procom Heating, Inc., No. 4:17-cv-380, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55598).

Judge Limits Attorney's Expert Testimony To Insurance Industry Standards
GULFPORT, Miss. - An expert for a man accused of making material misrepresentations to his insurance companies can provide testimony regarding industry standards between an agent and the insured, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled April 13, but the expert cannot proffer legal conclusions about those standards (American Zurich Insurance Co., et al. v. Curtis Guilbeaux, No. 16cv354-LG-RHW, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62614).

Judge Limits Testimony Of Trucking Company's Experts In Fraud Suit
BILLINGS, Mont. - A federal judge in Montana on April 12 limited the testimony of two experts for a trucking company accused of insurance fraud for submitting claims for reimbursement following an explosion caused by its transport of natural gas condensate, holding that one expert could not discuss whether the explosion was the result of criminal activity and the other could not opine about the company's state of mind (United States of America v. Woody's Trucking LLC, et al., No. CR 17-138, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62271).

Supreme Court Won't Review Mirena MDL Expert, Judgment Rulings
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 19 declined to wade into a dispute over a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling excluding experts from the Mirena multidistrict litigation or its finding that the company's own alleged admissions on causation could not save the litigation (Mirena MDL, et al. v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceutical Inc., et al., No. 17-1037, U.S. Sup.).

1st Bair Hugger Bellwether Trial Will Proceed May 14 After Pretrial Rulings
MINNEAPOLIS - The first bellwether trial in the Bair Hugger multidistrict litigation will proceed after the Minnesota federal judge overseeing the MDL on April 13 denied exclusion of three plaintiff experts and only partly granted defense motions for summary judgment (Louis Gareis, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-4187, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62568).

Judge Rejects Expert's Human Anatomy Testimony In Asbestos Dryer Felt Trial
SEATTLE - A federal judge presiding over the retrial of a $10.2 million Washington asbestos case on March 30 excluded an expert's testimony regarding asbestos and its interaction with human anatomy, finding the general testimony of "minimal probative value" (Geraldine Barabin v. Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., No. 07-1454, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54869).

FELA's Causation Standard Doesn't Alter Asbestos Expert Admissibility, Court Says
FORT WORTH, Texas - The featherweight standard for causation in Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) cases does not require courts to also relax the expert admission standard, a Texas appeals court held March 2 (BNSF Railway Co, et al. v. Leonard A. Baca, No. 02-17-00168-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 2280).

Causation Opinions Allowed In Yosemite National Park Cabin Hantavirus Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - Both general causation and specific causation opinions of five experts for a man who says the negligence of a Yosemite National Park lodging company caused him to contract hantavirus while staying at the park are sufficiently reliable for a jury to hear, a California federal judge held Feb. 23 (In re: National Park Hantavirus Litigation, No. 14-md-02532, Christopher J. Harrison, et al. v. DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-0451, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29742).

Expert's Prior Exclusion Not Relevant To Admissibility Inquiry, Magistrate Says
NEW YORK - A biomechanical engineer is not precluded from testifying in a personal injury action over a car crash just because his opinions were stricken in another recent auto accident case, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 14 in denying a bid by the injured driver to exclude the expert's testimony (Craig Thomas v. YRC Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-6105, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24384).

Judge: With No Jury Trial, Experts Can Testify In White Voter Bias Case
DALLAS - Two expert witnesses for white voters alleging that a Texas county's polling districts are discriminatory against whites can testify in the case because the dispute will be decided by a judge, not a jury, so "the objectives of Daubert are no longer implicated," a federal judge held March 5 in denying the county's bid to exclude the experts' opinions (Anne Harding, et al. v. Dallas, Texas, et al., No. 3:15-cv-0131, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35137).

Black-Owned Funeral Homes Cannot Use Expert For Bias Claims Against County
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - An expert witness for several funeral homes owned by blacks alleging that a Mississippi county discriminated against them when deciding where to send bodies from the coroner's office deliberately used inaccurate, biased data to form his opinion on the county's intent, rendering the opinion completely unreliable and inadmissible, a federal judge held Feb. 27 (Theodore Williams, et al. v. Gary Hargrove, et al., No. 1:16-cv-266, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31054).

Judge Admits Testimony Of Police Expert In Wrongful Death Shooting Case
NEW ORLEANS - A police practices expert used reliable methodology in forming his opinions in support of officers facing wrongful death claims for the shooting death of a teenager in 2015, a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 7 in denying a motion by plaintiffs to exclude the opinions from trial (Wyteika Tillman, et al. v. Jerry Larpenter, et al., No. 15-4588, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37198).

Causation, Defects Opinions Permitted In Weedwacker Personal Injury Suit
PHILADELPHIA - A medical expert is sufficiently qualified to opine that a Sears Craftsman Weedwacker caused a man's back injuries, a Pennsylvania federal judge held March 2 while also trimming an ergonomics expert's testimony to one opinion on how the Weedwacker's faulty design led to the injuries (Thomas Hagan v. Sears Appliance and Hardware Store, et al., No. 16-6461, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34190).

Judge Finds Expert In Infectious Diseases Can Testify About Emergency Medicine
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge in New Mexico on March 14 overruled a woman's request to exclude the testimony of a government expert who believes that the plaintiff received adequate care for the flu, holding that he has expertise as both an infectious diseases specialist and urgent care doctor (Laura Jean Joe-Cruz v. United States of America, No. 16-258, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41886).

Judge Partially Excludes Law Enforcement Expert's Testimony On Stun Gun Incident
ST. LOUIS - Although a law enforcement expert can testify as to national policing standards and other items in relation to the use of a stun gun on a robbery suspect, a Missouri federal judge on March 9 partially granted a motion filed by police deputies to exclude his testimony as to whether a deputy acted reasonably and on the version of events that occurred the day of the theft (Jessica A. Sloan v. Deputy Greg Long, No. 4:16 CV 86, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38604).

9th Circuit's Ruling On Experts In Suit Against Drugmaker Stands
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A wrongful death suit filed by parents against a pharmaceutical company is headed back to the trial court after the U.S. Supreme Court on March 19 declined to review the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' reversal of the trial court's exclusion of expert causation testimony (Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Stephen Wendell, et ux., No. 17-747, U.S. Sup.).

Justices Reject Daubert Challenge To Exclusion Of 'Human Factor' Testimony
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 19 denied certiorari for an assault defendant's challenge under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), to a Florida trial court's exclusion of expert testimony on human factors in responding to a threat (John Chiarenza v. State of Florida, No. 17-1012, U.S. Sup.).

Cert Denied For Ruling On Causation Expert In Nuclear Facility Injury Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by 137 residents of a Pennsylvania town who say that illegal releases of radioactive materials from a nearby plant caused their cancers and the deaths of their family members and that a federal appeals court erred in ruling on the admissibility of expert testimony in their case (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc., et al., No. 17-907, U.S. Sup.).

Case Settles After Trio Of Expert Asbestos Causation Opinions Admitted
MILWAUKEE - Sources told Mealey's Publications that the last remaining defendant in a Wisconsin state asbestos case settled March 6 on the eve of trial, just days after the judge admitted expert causation testimony, concluding that the opinion that there is a de minimus level below which causation is impossible rendered the opinion that cumulative exposures lead to disease admissible under Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Sandra Brezonick, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 23-CV-013189, Wis. Cir., Milwaukee Co.).

Judge Rejects Opinions On Cumulative Exposure In Asbestos Dryer Felt Case
SEATTLE - Two expert witnesses in an asbestos case tread too closely to the opinion that every exposure to asbestos is causative and must be excluded, a federal judge in Washington held Feb. 12 while allowing specific causation testimony from two others, as well as evidence regarding tests conducted on the dryer felts at issue (Geraldine Barabin v. Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., No. 07-1454, W.D. Wash.).

Magistrate Judge Admits Trio Of Plaintiffs' Experts In Asbestos Conspiracy Case
WILMINGTON, Del. - While not directly relevant, three experts' testimony on the presence of asbestos, causation and Crane Co.'s knowledge all bolster a woman's conspiracy claim, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held March 14 in denying a motion to strike the testimony under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., and Federal Rules of Evidence (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41749).

Florida Appeals Panel Reinstates $2 Million Tobacco Verdict
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based on comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Robert A. Gore Sr., No. 4D15-3892, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2274).

$41.5M Award For Girl's Tick Bite Disease; Expert Rulings Upheld By 2nd Circuit
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 6 affirmed a $41.5 million jury award against a private school in Connecticut for negligence in a lawsuit claiming that a student contracted tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) during a school trip to China, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in its expert witness rulings (Orson D. Munn, III, et al. v. The Hotchkiss School, No. 14-2410, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2852).

7th Circuit Affirms, Issues Warning For Court's Policy Of Not Identifying Experts
CHICAGO - A federal trial court did not err in admitting expert testimony in a methamphetamine distribution case, but the court's practice of not identifying expert witnesses to the jury "is problematic," the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 25 in affirming a man's drug dealing and firearms convictions (United States of America v. Ronald Tingle, No. 17-1604, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1935).

Experts' Testimony Upheld By Federal Judge In Sex Trafficking Case
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Two expert witnesses for the U.S. government can testify about sex trafficking and the prostitution trade in a criminal case against a man and his female accomplice accused of forcing a 13-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts, a New Mexico federal judge ruled Feb. 8 after finding that both experts meet all requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702, Fed. R. Evid. 702 (United States of America v. Cordny Henry, No. 16-cr-1097, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20896).

Some Expert Opinions Stricken In Pelvic Sling Design Defect Lawsuit
HAMMOND, Ind. - An Indiana federal judge on Feb. 7 trimmed testimony from two experts for a woman who says a faulty pelvic organ prolapse device she had inserted caused her a multitude of physical injuries (Barbara Kaiser, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 2:17-cv-114, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19950).

2nd Circuit Backs Judge's Decision To Bar Expert In Suit Over Saw Injury
NEW YORK - A Connecticut federal judge did not err in excluding expert testimony for a man's product liability claims against a company that makes saws, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 31, saying the judge was correct that the expert was not qualified enough to offer his opinions (Eustathios Karavitis v. Makita U.S.A., Inc., No. 17-1008, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2328).

All 61 Minnesota State Court Bair Hugger Cases Dismissed After 3 Experts Excluded
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota state court judge on Jan. 26 entered judgment in all 61 Bair Hugger post-surgical infection cases after ruling that the plaintiffs' general causation expert witnesses' "novel" theories are not generally accepted by the scientific community and because the litigation appears to be driven more by competition than by actual injury (In Re: 3M Bair Hugger Litigation, No. 62-CV-15-6432, Minn. Dist., Ramsey Co.).

Biomet Hip MDL Judge Denies Defense State-Of-The-Art Summary Judgment Motion
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - In response to what an Indiana federal judge called two "head-scratching" motions, a federal judge in Indiana on Feb. 8 denied Zimmer Biomet Holding Inc.'s (Biomet) motions for summary judgment on a state-of-the-art defense regarding its metal-on-metal hips and for lack of causation testimony in four non-metal-on-metal hip cases (In Re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2391, No. 12-md-2391, N.D. Ind., South Bend Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20758).

Judge Trims Expert's Testimony In Trade Secrets, Patent Dispute Over Antennas
SHERMAN, Texas - An expert's opinions on the state of mind of defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets suit and the legal definition of a trade secret are prohibited, although the expert's remaining testimony, as well as that of a second expert regarding damages, is admissible, a Texas federal judge held Jan. 30 (Quintel Technology Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies USA, Inc., et al., No. 4:15-cv-307, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14485).

Assault Defendant Seeks Review Of Exclusion Of 'Human Factor' Testimony
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida trial court's exclusion of an assault defendant's expert testimony on human factors in responding to a threat should be vacated because the ruling cost the defendant any chance he had at acquittal, he tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Jan. 18 petition for a writ of certiorari (John Chiarenza v. State of Florida, No. 17-1012, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 209).

Parents In Wrongful Death Suit Against Teva Say Ruling On Experts 'Unremarkable'
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A drugmaker's claim that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' reversal of a trial court's exclusion of expert causation testimony creates a circuit split should be seen for what it is - "little more than a fact-bound appeal of a decision with which it disagrees" - parents in a wrongful death suit against the company told the U.S. Supreme Court in their Feb. 2 respondents' brief (Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Stephen Wendell, et ux., No. 17-747, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 477).

Toxicologist's Opinions On Contaminated Site Upheld By Kentucky Federal Judge
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Even though a toxicology expert's opinion on what level of pollutants causes health problems is contrary to federal and Kentucky law, it is still reliable enough to help a jury determine common-law liability, a Kentucky federal judge held Jan. 25 in declining to exclude the expert's testimony (Modern Holdings, LLC, et al. v. Corning, Inc., et al., No. 5:13-cv-00405, E.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11891).

Expert's Opinions On Corrosion Found On Airplane Barred By Judge
TAMPA, Fla. - Competing experts in a breach of contract lawsuit over the inspection of a company's airplane both had their proposed testimony limited Feb. 13 by a Florida federal judge (Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc. v. Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC, No. 8:16-cv-3453, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23273).

Indiana Federal Judge Strikes Some Opinions In Cardiologist's Race Bias Case
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A medical expert for a doctor's race bias claims against his former employer used no reliable reasoning or methodology in forming his opinions on the doctor's state of mind when seeking consultations and on the employer's peer-review process, so the opinions are inadmissible, a federal judge in Indiana ruled Feb. 5 (Bhaktavatsala R. Apuri, M.D. v. Parkview Health Systems, Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-363, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17986).

Most Expert Testimony Admitted In Woman's Constructive Discharge Suit
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 29 allowed nearly all testimony from vision and rehabilitation experts for a woman alleging that her employer constructively discharged her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after she lost part of her eyesight due to a stroke, barring only one statement by each expert (Catherine Jones v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, No. 16-cv-340, M.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13545).

Federal Judge Allows Cardiologist's Opinions On Jail Inmate's Death
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A cardiologist's lack of experience working in a prison setting does not preclude him from offering expert opinions on the standard of care provided to a man who died while incarcerated, a Georgia federal judge held Feb. 8 (Belinda Lee Maley, et al. v. Corizon Health, Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-060, S.D. Ga., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21344).