NEW ORLEANS — Although the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 17 revised an opinion to correct inconsistent statements, it did not change its original holding that a trial court properly allowed a Texas state trooper who witnessed and investigated a fatal tractor-trailer crash to offer expert opinions on the cause of the accident (Alexandro Puga, et al. v. RCX Solutions, Inc., No. 17-41282, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11229).
SAN ANTONIO — An economics expert can testify about lost-wage damages a driver suffered after a tractor-trailer hit his car, but a trucking safety expert cannot opine that the driver of the rig caused the accident because the expert is not an accident reconstructionist, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled April 16 (Sergio Alpizar v. John Christner Trucking, LLC, et al., No. 5:17-cv-00712, W.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64751).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. Marine corporal’s conviction for raping his 2-year-old son stands after a military appeals court affirmed April 15 on all grounds, including that the court-martial judge properly allowed expert testimony on test results showing that the child had gonorrhea (United States v. Nicholas S. Baas, No. 201700318, Navy-Marine Corps Crim. App., 2019 CCA LEXIS 173).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on April 11 excluded testimony from a slip-and-fall plaintiff’s liability expert for lack of reliability and relevance but allowed his two damages experts to testify on their calculations of the plaintiff’s lost wages due to his injuries (Joshua T. Lewis v. Marquette Transportation Company, LLC, et al., No. 17-10917, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62528).
NEW ORLEANS — A musicologist’s expert report and testimony on the similarities between copyrighted New Orleans jazz songs and accused infringing hip-hop works was stricken April 10 by a Louisiana federal judge, who said the plaintiff’s expert admitted that the jazz songwriter actually performed the analyses for the report, not the expert (Paul Batiste v. Ryan Lewis, et al., No. 17-4435, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61605).
MIAMI — A chiropractor who treated a woman after she slipped and fell during a cruise can testify about his knowledge of spinal surgery but cannot opine that the fall caused her injury because he did not submit an expert report, a Florida federal magistrate judge decided April 10 (Julia Underwood v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., No. 17-24492, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61188).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on April 9 denied a city’s request for a temporary injunction that would require two utility companies to investigate and remediate manufactured gas waste oil (MG waste oil), methane and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) contamination at a former manufactured gas station and found that experts proffered by the parties are qualified to testify about the migration of the contamination (Evanston, Ill. v. Northern Illinois Gas Company, et al., No. 16-C-5692, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60707).
PHILADELPHIA — Two experts for a business allegedly damaged by the 2012 Paulsboro, N.J., train derailment and chemical spill failed to provide reliable, relevant opinions on the damage caused by the wreck, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 5 in affirming summary judgment to the train operator (Ace Pallet Corporation, et al. v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, et al., No. 18-2746, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10105).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 3 affirmed the bank robbery conviction and 19-year prison sentence for a Maryland man after finding that the trial court properly allowed an expert for the government to opine on historical cell site location evidence (United States v. Timothy Allen McNeal, No. 18-4405, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9804).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 2 excluded some opinions of a diabetes expert for a mechanic in an employment discrimination action against a bus company while denying summary judgment to both parties (Richard A. Miller, Jr. v. Lebanon County Transit Authority, No. 1:17-cv-1368, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56024).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not need a categorical rule requiring vocational expert witnesses in disability benefits hearings to provide data to back up their job availability opinions when requested by an applicant to meet the “substantial evidence” standard for such hearings, a divided U.S. Supreme Court held April 1 (Michael J. Biestek v. Nancy A. Berryhill, No. 17-1184, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. — A trial court correctly awarded Ford Motor Co. summary judgment on consumers’ design defect claims over vehicle acceleration problems after properly excluding the consumers’ expert witness opinions as unreliable, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 25 (Lance R. Belville, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, No. 18-1470, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 8838).
PASADENA, Calif. — A man who was injured using a spray-coating gun failed in his attempt to serve as his own expert witness, causing him to lose his product liability case for lack of causation evidence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 18 (Jason Scott Theis v. Graco, Inc., No. 17-56723, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7964).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on March 5 agreed to hear an appeal in a wrongful death lawsuit to determine whether a divided lower court reached the correct conclusion regarding the application of the Frye evidence standard in a pesticide cancer lawsuit against numerous chemical companies (Richard Thomas Walsh v. BASF Corporation, et al., No. 14 WAP 2019, Pa. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in affirming the exclusion of a man’s causation experts in his case against his former employers alleging that he contracted an autoimmune disease from exposure to toxic substances at work, the former employee tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Feb. 26 petition for a writ of certiorari (Timothy J. Rizzo v. Applied Materials, Inc., et al., No. 18-1153, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 825).
CHICAGO — An expert for the estate of a black man who was shot and killed by Chicago police cannot offer his opinions in the estate’s civil rights suit against the city because they would not help a jury and they are based on unreliable methods, an Illinois federal judge decided March 11 (Estate of Pierre Loury v. Chicago, et al., No. 16-cv-4452, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38029).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A trial court properly found that a person who conducted DNA testing on samples from a man eventually convicted of having sex with an 11-year-old girl presented factual testimony at the trial, not expert opinions, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined March 8 (United States v. Robert Kelsey, No. 16-3125, D.C. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6914).
DENVER — A federal court in Colorado did not err in excluding expert testimony for an oil company on industry customs in a breach of contract dispute or in making comments about the expert in front of the jury, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined March 7 (Bill Barrett Corporation v. YMC Royalty Company, LP, et al., No. 18-1067, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6826).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on March 5 allowed testimony from experts for both sides in a contract dispute between two beverage companies, telling the parties they can challenge each opposing expert’s opinions at trial (Paul Beverage Co., Inc. v. The American Bottling Co., No. 4:17-cv-2672, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34743).
HOUSTON — An expert’s causation opinion confuses association and causation and appears to be based on his own untested methodology, and after excluding it, a plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence linking asbestos to his colon cancer even under the lowered standard applied in Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) cases, a federal judge in Texas held March 5 (John Collins v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 17-3572, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34712).