PHILADELPHIA — A trial court properly ordered a new trial for a former player for the Chicago Bears who sued a surgeon for failing to disclose a career-ending injury in his right leg, a divided Pennsylvania appeals court affirmed April 14, holding that defense counsel’s question about corroborating expert testimony during trial was prejudicial (Craig Steltz v. William C. Meyers, et al., No. 179 EDA 2019, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1248).
OMAHA, Neb. — Even under the reduced causation standard in Federal Employer Liability Act cases, two toxic tort experts lacked sufficient evidence regarding the levels of exposure required to cause lung cancer and whether a man’s work at a railroad would have met or surpassed those levels, a federal magistrate judge in Nebraska said April 13 (Nadine Byrd, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 18-36, D. Neb., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63806).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Most of an economic expert’s opinions on whether a class of workers who paid union dues against their wishes can be certified are not admissible because they are improper legal conclusions or lack reliability, and a class cannot be certified because it cannot meet most requirements for a class action, an Ohio federal judge decided April 14 (Christina Littler v. Ohio Association of Public School Employees, No. 2:18-cv-1745, S.D. Ohio, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64589).
MINNEAPOLIS — Although opinions by two experts for a couple suing boat companies over their yacht are not admissible or were forfeited, the plaintiffs can still pursue a claim for revocation of acceptance based on their allegations that they cannot safely use the vessel because it is so defective, a Minnesota federal judge decided April 10 (Patrick Bollom, et al. v. Brunswick Corporation, et al., No. 18-3105, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63669).
GULFPORT, Miss. — A plaintiffs’ expert in a personal injury suit against a forklift rental company placed a metal pin in the wrong spot in initial testing of the forklift but remedied the mistake in follow-up testing, a Mississippi federal judge found April 10 in excluding the expert’s first report but allowing his second (Dexter Jagneaux, et al. v. United Rentals [North America], Inc., No. 1:18-cv-186, S.D. Miss., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62955).
NEW YORK — A transportation agency’s bid for summary judgment on two injured workers’ Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claims based on the unreliability of their expert witness fails because expert testimony is not required under FELA to establish causation and because the expert’s opinions in the case are at least partly admissible, a New York federal judge ruled April 6 (Thomas Blume, et al. v. Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, No. 1:18-cv-12251, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60562).
CHICAGO — A federal trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing an FBI agent to testify as an expert witness on prostitution or in any other rulings for a trial in which a man was convicted of being a pimp for underage girls, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 7 (United States v. Allen Young, No. 18-3679, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10820).
NEW ORLEANS — A trial court properly excluded on remand an expert’s report on damages for lack of reliability in a suit over an energy drink products licensing agreement, the Fifth District U.S. Court of Appeals held April 3 in affirming the exclusion of the report and grant of summary judgment to the breach of contract defendant (Jacked Up, LLC v. Sara Lee Corporation, No. 19-10391, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10615).
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 involving 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).
ERIE, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 20 granted the government’s motion to strike exhibits filed as part of a farm owner’s redrafted motion to vacate a consent decree in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit, holding that a previously undisclosed expert report challenges a previously made determination that the parcel of land at issue is a wetland under the statute (United States v. Robert Brace, et al., No. 90-229E, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48326).
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).