SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on June 7 turned down requests by both the estate of man who died after being repeatedly shocked by police with stun guns and the county and officers involved to exclude expert testimony in the estate’s excessive force lawsuit (Estate of Mark Roshawn Adkins, et al. v. San Diego, et al., No. 18-cv-00371, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96311).
ST. LOUIS — A trial court properly used its discretion to allow, without a hearing under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), expert police officer testimony on the characteristics of drug dealing before finding the defendant guilty and sentencing him to more than 51 years in prison, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined May 30 (United States v. Terreall McDaniel, No. 18-1477, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16096).
SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on June 6 allowed a damages expert’s opinions and reports in a trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit after finding that his methods of calculation are reliable (Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., et al. v. Yiren Ronnie Huang, et al., No. 17-0893, E.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94702).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on May 31 filed a brief in federal court in California contending that the judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products liability claims should enter judgment for the company as a matter of law or order a new trial on all claims brought by a man who won $80,267,644.10 when a jury found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing his cancer (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Hardeman v Monsanto], MDL No. 2741, No. 16-525, N.D. Calif.).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on May 28 declined a request by drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. to exclude expert testimony linking a woman’s heart attacks to the arthritis pain drug Vioxx, saying the expert’s opinions “rest upon good grounds” under Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals precedent (Jo Levitt v. Merck & Company, Inc., No. 4:06-cv-00818, W.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88454).
CINCINNATI — A Kentucky sheriff must face allegations that he lied about smelling raw marijuana while driving 150 feet away from a home after the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 22 reversed summary judgment in his favor on civil rights claims; however, the suing arrestees still cannot use their expert witness, the court said in affirming his exclusion for lack of qualifications and reliability (Pamela Blevins, et al. v. John Kirk, et al., No. 18-5369, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15290).
CHICAGO — A couple who was awarded an $800,835 judgment against the developer who built their home for construction defects can attempt to obtain the amount from a development company that was formed shortly after the judgment was entered, a federal judge in Illinois ruled May 23 after granting the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on claims for successor liability and piercing the corporate veil (Anthony Puntillo, et al. v. Dave Knecht Homes LLC, et al., No. 15 CV 11839, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87223).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on May 21 denied summary judgment to an insurer on a widow’s breach of contract and bad faith claims over the death of her husband, which she says was caused by a fall, entitling her to accidental death benefits despite her husband’s history of dementia (Susan Vogt v. Minnesota Life Insurance Company, No. 1:17-cv-01580, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85629).
SOUTH BEND, Ind.— A federal judge in Indiana on May 20 vacated a trial in a suit brought by an insurance company against a subcontractor that installed furnaces in a building’s roof trusses shortly before the roof partially collapsed after finding that the testimony proffered by the company’s structural engineering expert was unreliable (Affinity Mutual Insurance v. Thacker Air Conditioning-Refrigeration-Heating Inc., No. 16-CV-279 JD, N.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84713).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 16 ruled that a federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of PepsiCo Inc. and several of its affiliates on claims that they misappropriated another company’s aroma release technology trade secrets in developing their own in-house technology for failure to plead the necessary causation and damages required to sustain their breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation claims (ScentSational Technologies LLC v. PepsiCo Inc., et al., No. 2018-2091, Fed. Cir. 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 14477).
MILWAUKEE — Plaintiffs who sued the former makers of lead-based paint on May 17 moved in Wisconsin federal court to exclude the testimony of a defense expert on grounds that the court has previously excluded most of his opinions, particularly those based on estimates of parental IQ (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 16 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of an insurer on the applicability of the sudden and accidental exception to a policy’s pollution exclusion, agreeing with the lower court’s finding that the insured could not prove that the contamination was sudden and accidental because the insured’s expert testimony was inadmissible (Varlen Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-3212, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 14529).
PHILADELPHIA — Two experts cannot testify in a product liability suit that a soy-based diet supplement caused a woman to develop hypothyroidism — one because his opinions are unreliable and the other for lack of qualifications — and without the experts to prove causation, the supplement maker is entitled to summary judgment, a Pennsylvania federal judge held May 15 (Angela Loverdi, et al. v. Medifast, Inc., et al., No. 18-2196, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81739).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A collection of industry groups filed a joint amicus curiae brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on May 14, contending that a lower court erred when it approved the plaintiffs’ aggregate causation theory in a wrongful death lawsuit because the Frye evidence standard was not met (Richard Thomas Walsh v. BASF Corporation, et al., No. 14 WAP 2019, Pa. Sup.).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on May 14 allowed a crash-test expert for a recreational-vehicle maker to testify in a product liability suit over a rollover crash that left a man paralyzed but excluded opinions of the plaintiffs’ RV expert about the design of the crash vehicle’s safety equipment and steering (Michael Thompson, et al. v. Polaris Industries Incorporated, et al., No. 16-cv-02868, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81103).
SAVANNAH, Ga. — A structural engineering expert can testify for the plaintiff homeowner in a storm damage insurance coverage action that a dock and walkway were destroyed by a tornado, not storm surge, based on his training and the reliability and relevance of his opinions, so the defendant insurer is not entitled to summary judgment, a South Carolina federal judge held May 13 (John G. Kennedy, III v. Electric Insurance Company, No. 4:18-cv-148, S.D. Ga., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80404).
PASADENA, Calif. — While a trial court abused its discretion when admitting expert testimony from a fingerprint analyst in an illegal immigration case, the mistake was harmless because there was enough information to show that the expert’s opinions were reliable, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined May 10 (United States v. Mario Ruvalcaba-Garcia, No. 17-50288, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13986).
HOUSTON — A trial court abused its discretion in dismissing malpractice claims against a Texas hospital for the death of a 46-year-old woman who was awaiting a lung transplant and in excluding an expert’s opinion that all of the medical workers involved breached the standard of care to follow orders of the physician in charge, a state appeals court held May 9 in reversing and remanding (Aimee Harvey, et al., v. Kindred Healthcare Operating, Inc., et al., No. 14-17-00479-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3765).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It is too late in a man’s personal injury lawsuit against his insurer to dismiss the case without prejudice so he can remedy the problem that caused the testimony of his vocational expert to be excluded from trial, a Kansas federal judge held May 7 in denying the dismissal motion (William Lane Barcus v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., No. 2:17-cv-02492, D. Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76823).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 6 denied an appeal bid by a man convicted of killing two college students execution style in their Alabama home, finding no error by the man’s counsel relating to the admittance of expert testimony linking his DNA to DNA found in blood from the crime scene (Wilbert James Smith v. Warden, No. 19-10272, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13577).