Summary: Product Liability Expert Witnesses on disagree on whether an electric stove was defective and unsafe for use.

Facts: In Astacio v Birdie 141 Broadway Assoc., 2020 NY Slip Op 31074(U), Supreme Court, New York County, plaintiff lived in an apartment in New York.  In early 2014, the gas service to her building was stopped, and she could not use her gas stove.  Defendant provided residents with a two burner electric stoves.

The plaintiff acknowledged that she had used many different electric stoves, as the gas service to the building was consistently interrupted.  The plaintiff testified that she used many electric stoves during this time, as they would stop working.  Each time she was provided with a new one.  She denied ever damaging the units.

Summary: A Daubert Hearing was unnecessary for a Firearms & Ballistics Expert Witness testifying regarding a bullet comparison.

Facts: In Walters v. Kentucky (Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals), the court affirmed a judgment of the circuit court sentencing the defendant to ten years imprisonment for various criminal offenses, including home invasion

Two masked men with guns entered a residence owned by Lillian and Gary Ballman.  They demanded drugs and money. A fight ensued, and shots were fired.  The victims gave the men a safe containing drugs, money, and jewelry.

Summary: A conviction for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to do bodily harm and assault causing serious bodily injury was vacated, and the case was remanded for a new trial.  The court ruled that defendant should have been allowed to have his Forensic Psychology Expert Witness  testify, which would have allowed defendant to present his insanity defense to the jury.

Facts: In U.S v. Ray (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), two defendants, Patrick Bacon and Daniel Ray, were convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.  Bacon and Ray were both jailed in Victorville Federal Prison in California when they coordinated a stabbing of multiple correctional officers.  Security cameras recorded the attacks.

After a grand jury indicted Bacon and Ray, they were sent to trial.  Prior to trial Bacon gave notice, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2, that he would put forth an insanity defense.  The government filed a motion in limine to preclude Bacon’s Forensic Psychology Expert Witness Dr. Karim from testifying.  Dr. Karim had opined in a report that Bacon suffered chronic mental illness throughout his life, that he was on a downward spiral, and as a result, it would be reasonable to conclude “with a high degree of clinical certainty” that he would have had difficulty understanding the nature of his actions at the time of the assault.

Plaintiff sued defendant involving a claim of unlawful seizure and unreasonable or malicious prosecution. Plaintiff hired a Police Procedures Expert Witness to provide testimony. Defendant filed a motion to exclude this witness from testifying.  The court granted the motion in part and denied it in part.

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The new strain of coronavirus was officially named “COVID-19” on the February 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO).  Since that time, the transmission of the virus has altered virtually all aspects of public life.  This disruption may eventually lead to usual court, dispute resolution, and arbitration processes to become less practical because of public health measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus.

Because of the coronavirus, expert witnesses may be forced to testify by video conferencing.  This could likely be done at the deposition stage.  Although video taping of expert depositions is commonplace, it may become the rule rather than the exception to limit social interaction.  If the expert deposition will be videotaped, counsel should remind their expert about their facial expressions, and their tone.  It should also be noted that in this time of video posting, counsel should consider obtaining a protective order to prevent the video deposition from being posted on the Internet. See Paisley Park Enters. v. Uptown Prods., 54 F. Supp. 2d 347 (S.D. N.Y. 1999) (where the court ordered strict limits on the dissemination of the video deposition of musician Prince.)

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants related to an alleged injury while in prison.  Plaintiff hired an Ophthalmology Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.  The court granted the motion in part and denied it in part.

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