KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A man who was injured in a rollover crash of a pickup truck lost his product liability suit seeking more than $15 million from truck maker Ford Motor Co. when a Kansas federal judge on April 1 excluded testimony from the plaintiffs’ causation and design defect experts and awarded Ford summary judgment (Matthew R. Wurm v. Ford Motor Company, No. 2:18-cv-02322, D. Kan., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56904).
CARMEL, N.Y. — A New York justice partially excluded expert testimony on March 6 in the defamation lawsuit between a former chairman and CEO of American International Group Inc. (AIG) and a former New York governor following an earlier dispute accusing the AIG chairman of making improper reinsurance transactions (Maurice R. Greenberg v. Eliot L. Spitzer, No. 800004/2018, N.Y. Sup., Putnam Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1003).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A consumer survey to determine the likelihood of confusion of trademarks was rendered meaningless when the expert who conducted the survey removed the marks from the two products used in the comparison, a Florida federal judge held March 30 in granting a defendant company’s motion to exclude the expert’s testimony (Pro Video Instruments, LLC v. Thor Fiber, Inc., No. 6:18-cv-1823, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54876).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Several cancer victims on March 25 reply filed a brief in an Ohio federal court contending that the opinions of an expert for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. in a joint trial pertaining to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) are “wholly irrelevant” regarding the class membership of one of the plaintiffs and should be excluded (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, S.D. Ohio).
NEW YORK — A medical billing expert is qualified to testify, and medical providers’ benefits recovery and injunctive relief claims largely survive in a case alleging that an insurer ignored plan language and instead issued automatic denials of coverage for office-based practices’ facility fees, a federal judge in New York said March 26 (The Medical Society of the State of New York, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 16-5265, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53262).
BATON ROUGE, La. — According to the court’s docket, a federal judge on March 23 continued the May 11 trial date for a health care discrimination case involve a deaf women after the parties pointed out the state of emergency and that the health care professionals involved in the battle against the novel coronavirus at the heart of the state’s “stay-at-home” order will comprise nearly all the trial’s witnesses (Katrina Rivers LaBouliere, et al. v. Our Lady of the Lake Hospital Inc., No. 16-785, M.D. La.).
SAN FRANCISCO — After finding no error with a trial court’s exclusion of an opinion on causation, a California appeals panel upheld summary judgment to two nursing home operators on elder abuse and wrongful death claims (Diane Lowery v. Kindred Healthcare Operating, Inc., et al., No. A153421, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1845).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 20 rejected all grounds of an estate administrator for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial in his long-running feud with a county-run nursing home, including the administrator’s claim that his expert’s testimony on staff training was improperly excluded from trial (Carl Louis Robinson v. Fair Acres Geriatric Center, et al., No. 2:15-cv-06749, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48305).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 23 declined to review a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling setting the standard for judging the competency of medical experts for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs veteran benefits cases (Ernest L. Francway, Jr. v. Robert Wilkie, No. 19-604, U.S. Sup.).
CLEVELAND — One day after Sonic Corp. filed a brief in Ohio federal court opposing certification for a class of financial institutions (FIs) in a lawsuit over its 2017 data breach, the fast food chain on March 18 filed three motions to exclude the plaintiffs’ class certification experts, citing issues of qualification, relevance and reliability (In re: Sonic Corp. Customer Data Security Breach, No. 1:17-md-02807, N.D. Ohio).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on March 13 excluded an expert’s opinion that a doctor accused of Medicare fraud suffers from autism in a final ruling before the criminal case was put on hold by a court order deferring jury trials because of the COVID-19 outbreak (United States v. Huan Doan Ngo, No. 4:17-cr-413, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44459).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A communications expert for Delaware’s largest city can testify in a dispute over the placement of a cell phone antenna, even though he has never worked with any private wireless providers, a federal judge ruled March 16 (T-Mobile, Northeast, LLC v. Wilmington, Del., et al., No. 16-1108, D. Del., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44981).
SAN ANTONIO — A trial court properly overruled objections to expert opinions that the operator of a long-term care group home for mentally disabled adults caused a 59-year-old blind and mute woman to be sexually assaulted during an outing by not telling caregivers that she needed constant watching to prevent harm by others, a Texas appeals court panel held March 11 (Premieant Incorporated v. Constance Snowden, No. 04-19-00238-CV, Texas App. 4th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 2187).
GULFPORT, Miss. — An expert’s opinions on fiduciary obligations under a construction indemnity agreement for work at a college baseball stadium in Mississippi are conclusions of law and therefore inadmissible, a federal judge held March 11 in granting a motion to strike the expert’s testimony (American Contractors Indemnity Company v. Reflectech, Inc., et al. v. Century Construction & Realty, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-297, S.D. Miss., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43068).
CONCORD, N.H. — The Supreme Court of New Hampshire on March 6 remanded a lead paint poisoning case to a trial court, determining that for an expert opinion on causation in a toxic tort case to be admissible, the expert is not required to base his or her opinion on the dose-response relationship (Sandra Moscicki v. Charles Leno, et al.; Charles Leno, et al. v. Sandra Moscicki, No. 2019-009, N.H. Sup., 2020 N.H. LEXIS 38).
TRENTON, N.J.— A New Jersey appeals court panel on March 6 affirmed the dismissal of a woman’s lawsuit accusing U.S. Home Corp., doing business as Lennar, of construction defects that resulted in water intrusion and mold growth, finding that her expert’s testimony was unable to establish proximate causation (Joann Wean v. U.S. Home Corp., et al., No. A-5521-17T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
MOSCOW, Idaho — A wildfire expert for a power company can opine on the amount of money damages sustained by the United States from a fire that burned more than 43,000 acres of government-owned forest in Idaho, even though the expert lacks a financial or accounting background, a federal magistrate judge held March 6 (United States v. Idaho County Light and Power Cooperative Association, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-00391, D. Idaho, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39717).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An expert for insurers should not be allowed to testify at the confirmation hearing for Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. debtors’ plan of reorganization because the insurers don’t have standing to assert objections to the plan and the expert’s opinions are irrelevant, the debtors argue in a Feb. 27 motion in limine in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The general counsel for Bayer US LLC, the parent company of Monsanto Co., which estimates that it faces litigation from at least 42,700 plaintiffs related to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, joined corporate officers from other companies in signing a letter sent to the Office of the U.S. Courts, urging it to amend the federal rules of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert testimony.
GREENBELT, Md. — A couple from Morocco on March 4 lost their personal injury case against Six Flags America LP over a water slide mishap in which the husband broke his leg, after losing their causation expert to a motion in limine in Maryland federal court for lack of reliability (Hicham Elkharroubi, et al. v. Six Flags America, LP, et al., No. 17-2169, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37431).