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Breaking Legal Developments

09-09-2014

Published by:
Peter A. Lynch, Esq.
of Cozen O'Connor
palynch@cozen.com
http://www.cozen.com

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:      This weekly newsletter covers:

  1. PROCESS OF ELIMINATION APPROVED TO PERMIT MICROWAVE FIRE CASE TO PROCEED


(1) PROCESS OF ELIMINATION APPROVED TO PERMIT MICROWAVE FIRE CASE TO PROCEED

In Allstate v. LG, USDC, ED of PA, Case No. 12-1113, http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/pennsylvania/paedce/5:2012cv01113/459255/80, defendant moved preclude expert testimony of the plaintiff. Plaintiff’s expert had relied in part on eye witness testimony that there was smoke and either flame or sparks inside the microwave. Another witness saw smoke from the cabinet above and around the microwave. The expert reviewed that testimony, additional photographs and inspected wiring. He opined the cause and origin of the fire was the microwave oven relying on the eye witness testimony and his inspection. That the microwave was defective and the result of a malfunction of the microwave. He also separately opined the microwave was defective because it lacked a power surge protector to prevent the fire even occurring if voltage transients were present.

The court noted under limited circumstances the process of elimination can be used to make a credible determination of a fire cause. See NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, section 18.2.1. The court found the experts methodology met the guidelines of NFPA 921. The court held the defendant can expose any alleged deficiencies in the expert’s conclusion about the microwave as the cause of the fire through cross-examination. The motion to exclude the expert was denied.

Mr. Lynch can be reached at Cozen and O'Connor, 501 West Broadway, Suite 1610, San Diego, California 92101, 800-782-3366 (voice), 619-234-7831 (fax), palynch@cozen.com (e-mail), http://www.cozen.com. Follow us on Twitter at @firesandrain.

Please direct comments, suggestions, stories, and other items to the author by e-mail at palynch@cozen.com

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