NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed the allowance of expert testimony in a mortgage fraud case that resulted in a nearly $300 million judgment against a businessman and his companies after finding that the trial judge properly vetted the experts’ opinions and sufficiently explained his rationale for doing so (United States v. Jim C. Hodge, et al., No. 17-20720, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23715).
DETROIT — A divided Michigan appeals court on July 25 said a trial court correctly refused to rule in favor of a gastroenterologist who was sued over a woman’s death from colorectal bleeding, affirming that questions remain about whether biopsies taken during a colonoscopy caused the bleeding (Estate of Effie Taylor v. University Physician Group, et al., No. 338801, Mich. App., 2019 Mich. App. LEXIS 4203).
CHICAGO — A federal court properly dismissed a severely injured couple’s product liability claims against a motorcycle helmet company for lack of expert testimony and correctly excluded their expert witnesses for claims against the motorcycle maker and a tire company, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Aug. 6 (Donald N. Timm, et al. v. Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America, Ltd., et al., No. 18-2641, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23448).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An expert’s testimony regarding testing he performed that found asbestos in talc and in a victim’s lung tissue is unreliable and must be excluded, a federal judge in the District of Columbia said Aug. 5 (Brian Jackson, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., No. 15-1066, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131298).
PHOENIX — Testimony from an attorney with experience in legal fields related to construction-related insurance claims “passes muster” under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Aug. 2, denying an insurer’s motion to preclude the expert testimony in its dispute with contractors over repairs to water damage (Adams Craig Acquisitions LLC, et al. v. Atain Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-00817, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129537).
NEW YORK — A lack of reliability dooms a mental health expert’s opinion that a hospital’s discrimination against an employee caused her to develop depression and anxiety, so the question of whether the expert should be excluded because of a possible bias need not be answered, a New York federal judge held Aug. 2 (Aigner El Ansari v. Bridget Graham, et al., No. 1:17-cv-3963, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129997).
NEW YORK — A federal court properly excluded expert testimony in a suit over failed sewage treatment plant pumps for lack of a sound methodology and then correctly tossed a city authority’s product liability claims because expert testimony is needed for such a claim, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided July 30 (Norwalk Water Pollution Control Authority v. Flowserve US, Inc., No. 18-1288, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22512).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny a request by an ex-employee asserting a retaliatory discharge claim against brokerage companies to grant review of lower courts’ exclusion of her expert witness because “further review on this fact-bound, splitless, and correct conclusion is unnecessary,” the companies tell the high court justices in their July 29 response (Jackie Hosang Lawson v. FMR LLC, et al., No. 19-2, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2904).
ST. LOUIS — Physical testing at the scene of a fire that destroyed a building was not required for an insurer’s expert witnesses to opine on when the blaze started, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of appeals ruled Aug. 1 in affirming denial of a new trial for a Missouri couple (Allstate Indemnity Company v. Joseph Dixon, et al., No. 18-1948, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23021).
PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 affirmed the income tax fraud conviction of a California businessman after finding that the trial court properly excluded the opinions of the defendant’s accounting expert as irrelevant (United States v. Walter Daniel Prezioso, No. 18-50056, 9th Cir.., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22221).
ST. LOUIS — Fourteen years ago, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld admittance of a federal agent’s expert opinion that drug dealers would not give 5 kilograms of cocaine to someone to deliver who did not know what he was transporting. The same testimony by the same expert to rebut a woman’s “unknown courier defense” received the court’s imprimatur again in a July 18 per curiam opinion that relies on the earlier decision (United States v. Adriana Gutierrez-Ramirez, No. 18-2270, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21302).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on July 19 declined to exclude opinions by an expert on damages in a trade secrets dispute between competing companies that operate online chat services after finding that the expert’s methods are reliable under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (LivePerson, Inc. v. 7.ai, Inc., No. 17-cv-01268, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121005).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Two asbestos plaintiffs needed expert testimony satisfying Ohio causation laws despite recent changes in the state, Delaware’s top court concluded July 22 (In re: Asbestos Litigation Craig Charles Richards, et al. v. Copes-Vulcan Inc., et al., No. 546, 2018, Del. Sup., 2019 Del. LEXIS 362).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 11 vacated a $7.1 million award to the mother of a child born with severe respiratory problems who developed brain damage, concluding that the mother failed to present sufficient expert testimony that a physician violated the standard of care (Kayla Butts, et al. v. United States, No. 18-1693, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 20593).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A branch manager’s attempt to force his former employer to pay him a bonus for 2016 based on the branch’s financial results survived a bid for summary judgment, and the manager’s expert witness dodged the employer’s request to exclude his testimony, with a Louisiana federal magistrate judge denying both of the employer’s motions July 16 (Damain Kerek v. Crawford Electric Supply Company, Inc., No. 18-76, M.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117786).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on July 15 granted in part a motion to exclude testimony from an insurance fraud defendant’s expert regarding state-specific standards on the prescribing of opioids, finding that the doctor had not reviewed the information when forming his opinion (United States v. Patrick Emeka Ifediba, et al., No. 18-cr-0103-RDP-JEO, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116826).
BALTIMORE — An FBI special agent can testify as an expert on prostitution for the government’s prosecution of a Maryland man on sex-trafficking charges because her opinions will help the jury understand the business of prostitution, a federal judge decided July 9 (United States v. Ryan Russell Parks, No. 1:18-cr-00317, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113550).
CHICAGO — An architectural expert for a personal injury plaintiff who was hurt when a store’s sliding doors closed on him can testify about how such doors work and the industry standards for them, but any talk about the doors being defective or not properly maintained is forbidden, an Illinois federal magistrate judge ruled July 9 (Paul Munoz v. Menard, Inc., No. 18-cv-2571, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113064).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A woman who failed to prove her retaliatory discharge claim on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court took her battle back to the high court on May 29, arguing in a second petition for certiorari that the trial court’s mistaken exclusion of her expert witness cost her the case (Jackie Hosang Lawson v. FMR LLC, et al., No. 19-2, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2288).
DENVER — A man convicted of federal robbery and firearms offenses did not have an expectation of privacy in GPS data collected in connection with a parole program, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 1, upholding a trial court’s denial of the man’s motion to suppress the data as wrongly searched without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. constitution (United States v. Vincent Scott Mathews, No. 18-1215, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19611).