Compania v. Titan International, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 14571

CHICAGO – The Seventh Circuit has affirmed the exclusion of testimony from an officer of the defendant in the case, because the defendant attempted to offer his opinion as a fact witness.  The court said his valuation was not based on “particularized knowledge” gained by working at the company, but on his “extensive experience purchasing and selling the type of goods at issue.”  Since the court said the CEO was truly presenting an expert opinion, and he wasn’t disclosed by the deadline, the trial court was correct in excluding him.

“[Former Titan CEO] Taylor purported to value the collateral by applying his generalized knowledge of the worldwide tire market, gained through his experience in the worldwide tire business, to a proffered list of specific items owned by a third party.”  Noting that Taylor had no personal knowledge of the items, his position was “not akin to the owner of a small business testifying to the value of that business.”  The court said that since his testimony was based on his “special training or experience,” his testimony was that of an expert.

Compania’s law firm is Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago and Brown, Hay & Stevens in Springfield, Illinois.  Titan’s firm is Pepper Hamilton in Washington, D.C.