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Breaking Legal Developments

08-05-2002

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

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:      This weekly newsletter covers:

  1. Seventh Finds Expert's Testimony Should Have Been Excluded Under Daubert


(1) SEVENTH FINDS EXPERT'S TESTIMONY SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED UNDER DAUBERT

In Chapman v. Maytag, No. 01-4061, (July 29, 2002), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed a verdict for the plaintiff. The defendant manufacturer contended the plaintiff's expert's testimony should not have been permitted. This was a wrongful death case involving an electrical range. The plaintiff's husband was electrocuted while working in a crawl space.

Inspection of the range revealed a manufacturing defect where a wire was pinched improperly. The range was plugged into a receptacle assembled by the decedent. There was no ground wire installed by the decedent.

The plaintiff's expert contended a leak through of electrical current happened. This leak through was what caused the electrocution according to the plaintiff's expert.

The Court of Appeals noted the expert did not conduct any scientific tests or experiments to support his conclusions. Nor did he produce any studies, tests or experiments by others. The expert also presented no proof that his theory was generally accepted in the scientific community. Hence, the court held a new trial was necessary because his testimony was not reliable under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

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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