Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC v. Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc, No. 05 C 4088, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 15, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.).*
Judge Moran granted declaratory judgment plaintiff Rosenthal Collins Group’s (“RCG”) motion for leave to use an expert witness that declaratory judgment defendant Trading Technologies (“TT”) previously met with. TT met the first prong of the test for expert disqualification. TT had established a confidential relationship with the expert, as proven by the non-disclosure (“NDA”) agreement entered into by TT and the expert.
But the NDA was not enough to meet the second prong of the test, that confidential information requiring disqualification was exchanged. The expert stated that he had two meetings with TT approximately four years before the issuance of this opinion. One meeting was held before the NDA was executed and one after. TT alleged that there were additional meetings, but only had supporting evidence of two meetings. TT also alleged that it discussed litigation strategy, prior art and a relevant court decision with the expert. But based upon an in camera review of TT’s evidence, the Court held that there was not sufficient evidence of an exchange of confidential information. The emails TT provided were one or two lines each and contained no confidential or work product information. And TT did not provide attorney notes or other evidence of confidential or work product information. The Court did acknowledge that one email discussion of a court opinion could have been work product, but the expert’s response was so brief and vague that the Court did not consider it advice.
Finally, TT did not offer evidence that it retained the expert or paid him any fees. TT did argue that it compensated the expert by having TT’s president speak to a trading group the expert owned. But there was no evidence that the speaking engagement was intended to be or was accepted as payment for the expert’s work.