Long Brothers argues - inappropriately relied on hearsay
The trial court inappropriately
relied on hearsay evidence in making this calculation.
Determining the offset
The district court admitted the expert opinions of witnesses for
The district court admitted this
evidence under the evidentiary rule
permitting an expert to rely
upon hearsay in forming an opinion as long as the hearsay
evidence itself remains inadmissible. See Fed. R.
Triple hearsay was involved
Indeed, the district court
recognized that Sawyer's and South Central Petroleum's expert's
testimony involved triple hearsay, because the expert based his
opinion on information obtained from a commercial production
service, which received its information from the state, which in
turn obtained its information from the operator of the well, and
none of these sources testified at the trial.
Spreadsheet calculations were formed by expert opinion
Sawyer's and South Central Petroleum's expert presented his revenue
conclusion in an exhibit, which also listed the production
figures on which he based his opinion.
As the expert explained, the
spreadsheet-like exhibit listed the underlying data and
reflected the calculations that formed his opinion.
Thus, when the district court
accepted the expert's revenue charts, it also allowed the
underlying data to be at the court's disposal.
Long Brothers objects - Improperly relied on hearsay evidence
Contends that it demonstrates that
the district court improperly relied on hearsay evidence.
- district court limited the admission to expert opinion
When the district court admitted the
exhibit, however, it limited the admission to the expert's
opinion, and not to the underlying figures, as required by
Federal Rule of Evidence 703.
District court explained
I'm going to admit the exhibit.
I think that it does qualify under
the rule that experts may
testify as to conclusions based on evidence that's not itself
Court - District court did not blur the evidentiary distinction
This statement convinces us that the
district court did not blur the evidentiary distinction which
Long Brothers argues was violated
The Federal Rules of Evidence
Permit experts to
rely on inadmissible information in
forming their opinion as long as the underlying
information be "of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in
the particular field. . . ." Fed. R. Evid. 703.
Exclude Opinion IF expert relied on unsupported hearsay
Indeed, "[a] trial court should
exclude an expert opinion only if it is so fundamentally
unsupported that it cannot help the factfinder. . . .
Any weaknesses in the factual
underpinnings of (the expert's) opinion go to the weight and
credibility of his testimony, not to its admissibility."
- District Court Expressly limited admission
Here, the district court
expressly limited the admission to the
expert's opinion and did not admit the information on
which the expert based his opinion.
Both Long Brothers and South Central Experts relied on the same
Moreover, Long Brothers does not
dispute that their opponent's expert based his opinion on
information reasonably relied upon by experts in the field.
In fact, Long Brothers' expert
relied on the same type of production figures on which Sawyer's
and South Central Petroleum's expert based his opinion.
- No Abuse of Discretion
We therefore do not believe that the
district court abused its discretion in admitting the contested