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Breaking Legal Developments

12-20-2012

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

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:      This weekly newsletter covers:

  1. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Jury Verdict finding Refrigerator Caused Fire Based on Circumstantial Evidence


(1) EIGHTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDS JURY VERDICT FINDING REFRIGERATOR CAUSED FIRE BASED ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

In Randy Russell v. Whirlpool Corporation (Dec. 17, 2012), No. 12-1451. In suit involving claims that a fire at plaintiffs' home was caused by defendant's defective refrigerator, the district court did not err in permitting plaintiff's expert to testify even though he had not followed NFPA 921 as the fire investigation standard is not the only reliable way to investigate a fire; our cases do hold that an expert who purports to follow NFPA 921 must follow its contents reliably if his testimony is to be admitted, but here the expert did not purport to apply NFPA 921 and his testimony could not be excluded for failure to reliably follow the contents of the standard; district court did not err in determining the expert followed a reliable methodology in his investigation; Missouri law permits a jury to infer a product defect and causation based on circumstantial evidence under a res-ipsa loquitur theory.

A complete copy of the opinion is available at: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opinions/opinions.html

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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