Watts v. Cypress Hill, No. 06 C 3348, 2008 WL 697356 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 12, 2008) (Ashman, Mag. J.).

Judge Ashman struck plaintiffs’ expert report pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1). Plaintiffs’ authored the song "Is It Because I’m Black" in 1968. Plaintiffs’ alleged that defendants, the musical group Cypress Hill (click here for some of the group’s music on their MySpace page), infringed their copyright in the song by using parts of it in their Black Sunday album. Cypress Hill contended that plaintiffs sold the copyright pursuant to a 1969 songwriters contract. Plaintiffs argued that the contract was a fraud.

Plaintiffs submitted an expert report (the "Report") to support that the contract was fraudulent. In six paragraphs, the expert stated that he ran various tests and concluded that the 1969 contract was a fraud because it was printed and signed by an inkjet printer — inkjet printers were developed in the 1970s or 1980s. When Cypress Hill complained that the Report was incomplete, plaintiffs supplemented it with pictures of the testing.

But the Court held that the supplemented Report was not sufficient because it did not explain the expert’s methodology. There was no way to know how the expert translated data into conclusions. And no reputable rebuttal expert could test the expert’s methodology or opine that the data was misinterpreted. It did not matter that the missing information could likely be obtained in a deposition. Rule 26 requires that an expert report include "the basis and reasons" for the expert’s opinions. Because the Report did not disclose the expert’s methodology and reasoning, and because Cypress Hill was prejudiced by the late-served, incomplete Report, the Court struck the Report.