RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 19 affirmed a $750,000 jury verdict secured by neighbors of a hog processing facility who alleged nuisance law violations, ruling that the lower court properly admitted expert testimony, among other findings, but vacated and remanded the punitive damages award (Joyce McKiver, et al. v. Murphy-Brown LLC, No. 19-1019, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 36416).
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 4 awarded summary judgment to BP Exploration & Production Inc. and BP America Production Co. (collectively, BP) in actions brought by two groups of workers who engaged in the cleanup of oil from the Gulf Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 and who allegedly suffered personal injuries as a result of exposure to arsenic in the dispersant Corexit and particulate matter (PM), finding that the plaintiffs’ expert’s general causation opinion was unreliable under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc.
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 16 delivered a mixed result for parties in a multibillion-dollar bitcoin ownership row after considering dueling motions to exclude a total of nine proposed experts (Ira Kleiman, et al. v. Craig Wright, No. 9:18-cv-80176, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 213482).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 29 rejected a defendant’s motion to exclude expert testimony in a car crash suit, calling it a “transparent” attempt to block any evidence that the plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident (Lance Meadors v. Antonio P. D'Agostino, et al., No. 18-01007, M.D. La., LEXIS 201471).
OMAHA, Neb. — A railroad company on Nov. 12 lost its bid to exclude expert testimony in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination suit, but in the same order a Nebraska federal judge ultimately granted its motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case against the employer with prejudice (Bobby Owen v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 19-462, D. Neb., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211209).
NEW YORK — Addressing post-trial motions in one of the first New York City asbestos cases featuring punitive damages, a justice on Nov. 11 rejected Johnson & Johnson entities’ challenges to allegedly prejudicial trial proceedings, sufficiency of the evidence, experts and causation but said the plaintiffs must accept $120 million in damages or retry the case (Donna Olson v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 190328/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 8521).
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on Nov. 10 agreed to limit the testimony of a commercial trucking issues expert proposed by a man who claimed that he was injured when he was struck by a truck while he was riding his bicycle after the trucking company objected to her qualifications on Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. grounds (Peter Monroe v. Freight All Kinds Inc., et al., No. 18-3238, W.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210550).
DENVER — A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on Oct. 31 granted in part Walmart Inc.’s motion to exclude expert testimony in a slip-and-fall case, allowing a vocational expert’s testimony on a plaintiff’s limitations for future employment opportunities but precluding testimony on the likelihood of her being able to secure those jobs (Hutchison v. Walmart, Inc., No. 19-01496, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203356).
BATON ROUGE, La. — Any flaw in testimony based on an expert’s visit to a hospital and review of its policies produced in support of a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) discrimination claim can be raised during cross-examination, a federal judge in Louisiana said Nov. 10 in denying reconsideration (Sandra King v. Our Lady of the Lake Hospital Inc., No.17-530, M.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209958).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Nov. 9 granted in part and denied in part a motion to exclude expert testimony in a vehicle crash lawsuit, ruling that the expert may testify on the biomechanics of the collision but cannot opine on medical causation (Rokedrick Williby v. National Casualty Co., et al., No. 19-13357, E.D. La., U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209031).
MACON, Ga. — A focus on the reliability of expert testimony and not on “whether it fits within the narrow confines of lawyer‐urged litmus tests” weighs in favor of admitting testimony on future medical needs and associated costs related to a man’s automobile accident in a personal injury case pending in a Georgia federal court, a judge ruled Nov. 6 (White v. Hall, et al., No. 18-00072, M.D. Ga., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207891).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A woman’s claims that surgeons derotated her pelvis during spine surgery without her consent were untimely filed, a New York appellate court said Nov. 5, affirming a trial court’s dismissal. It said her claims of an intentional act constituted battery, not negligence, and therefore a different statute of limitations applied (Lisa M. Young v. Khalid Sethi, et al., No. 530445, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6530).
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana appeals court reversed summary judgment granted to a pediatric cardiologist in a suit brought by the mother of a child born with a hole in her heart, concluding on Oct. 28 that the trial court failed to properly consider a plaintiff’s expert affidavit on the standard of care for treating the condition (Megan Thomas, et al. v. Geeta Dalal, No. 20-65, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2020 La. App. LEXIS 1555).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 4 found that the proposed expert testimony of a firearms examiner in a criminal case met the standards set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm. Inc., Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Federal Rule of Evidence 403, denying the defendant’s motion in limine to exclude (United States v. Harris, No. 19-358, D. D.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205810).
SAN FRANCISCO — An en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 5 that a circuit court panel may use its discretion to remedy a non-harmless Daubert error, overturning precedent that dictated that a panel must remand to the district court for a retrial (United States v. Bacon, No. 18-50120, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 35038).
LANCASTER, Pa. — A general contractor accused of faulty work when remodeling a couple’s home says in a motion filed Oct. 8 in Pennsylvania state court that the opinions of two of the plaintiffs’ proffered experts should be excluded because they did not inspect the work done at the home and because the damages they estimate exceed the value of the property.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on Oct. 29 ruled that an expert was not reliable and excluded him from testifying on behalf of property owners who contend that a hydraulic fracturing company breached its contract by accessing oil and gas mineral rights on neighboring property but not paying the correct amount of royalties for passing through the plaintiffs’ land (Ruth H. Wells, et al. v. Antero Resources Corporation, No. 20-9, N.D. W.Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201178).
SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys for Monsanto Co. and a man who contends that his exposure to the company’s herbicide Roundup, which contains that active ingredient glyphosate, caused his cancer debated Oct. 23 before a panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals whether the claims at issue in the trial were preempted (Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, No. 19-16253, 9th Cir.).
LINCOLN, Neb. — Two experts are sufficiently qualified to opine on industrial hygiene and causation, and their interviewing of railway employees and consideration of literature involving asbestos and other toxic exposures for such workers meets the standard for admissibility, a federal judge in Nebraska said Oct. 22 in admitting the experts and denying summary judgment in a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) case (Linda K. Boyle, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 18-363, D. Neb., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196233).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 20 sent a dispute over whether to seal part of a Daubert ruling in a patent case back to the trial court to conduct an analysis balancing the public’s right of access against the interests of parties looking to keep their financial and licensing information private (Finjan, Inc. v. Juniper Networks, Inc., No. 19-1837, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33086).