Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Elston Self Service Wholesale Groceries, Inc., No. 03 C 4753, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 13, 2008) (Ashman, Mag. J.).
Judge Ashman granted in part plaintiff Lorillard’s motion to strike defendant Elston’s expert report. Lorillard alleged that Elston, in violation of the Lanham Act and state law, knowingly bought and sold counterfeit Newport cigarettes. Elston offered an expert to opine on three general subjects: (1) customs and practices in the cigarette industry; (2) Elston’s cigarette purchasing history; and (3) whether the prices of the allegedly counterfeit cigarettes would have made it obvious to Elston that the cigarettes were counterfeit.
The Court held that the expert’s seven years in the cigarette industry and subsequent consulting were sufficient to qualifying him as an expert in the custom and practice of the industry. But the Court struck the remainder of the expert’s opinions. His opinions regarding Elston’s purchasing history were based solely on produced documents. And the jury could glean the same information from its review of the documents. The expert’s opinions regarding Elston’s subjective reaction to the price difference were struck because they were beyond both the expert’s expertise and his personal knowledge.