Automobile Mechanical & Body Repair Expert Witness Allowed to Testify In Part in Automobile Engine Defects Case.

Summary: Automobile Mechanical & Body Repair Expert Witness testimony is granted in part and denied in part even though the court opined that he was qualified to provide expert witness testimony in an automobile products liability case.

Facts:  This case (Grover et al v. BMW of North America, LLC et al – United States District Court – Northern District of Ohio – January 24th, 2022) involves a products liability claim against BMW.  The plaintiffs state that their vehicles, all equipped with a N63 turbocharged engines, consumed an absorbent amount of engine oil.  BMW claims that the excessive burning of oil was normal.  The plaintiffs hired Automobile Mechanical & Body Repair Expert Witness Darren Manzari to provide expert testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude Manzari from giving expert testimony.

Discussion:  BMW filed a motion to exclude Manzari’s expert opinion.  The company claims that he is not proficient to offer an opinion on the N63 engine and its supposed defects.  In addition, the company declares that Manzari’s opinions are not relevant under Daubert as they have not been provided on the basis of any accepted principles or methodologies.

The first of Manzini’s declarations under scrutiny is that BMW hid its knowledge of the alleged vale stem defect from the plaintiffs.  BMW argues that this statement is not an expert opinion, but just a comment and speculation on the evidence.   However, the plaintiffs maintain that Manzari may use his knowledge to provide testimony as to whether BMW concealed its knowledge of the alleged valve stem defect.  The judge agreed with BMW, stating that Manzini offering an opinion on fraudulent concealment is a legal conclusion of which an expert cannot opine.  Thus, this portion of the expert testimony should be excluded.

In addition, BMW argues that Manzini’s expert opinion do not meet the relevancy and reliability requirements under Rule 702.  The plaintiffs states that Manzini’s opinions are based on his extensive knowledge of internal combustion engines and his expertise as a diagnostician.  The judge agrees with the plaintiffs regarding this part of the case, opining that Manzini used a reliable methodology which satisfies the court’s gatekeeping function.

Also, the court opined that BMW’s argument that Manzini did not personally inspect the automobiles in question is not pertinent, as Manzini concluded with a reasonable degree of certainty that the oil consumption issue was present.  The court did state that Manzini’s opinion that the N63 engine is defectively design should be excluded.

Summary:  The motion to exclude the expert opinion of Darren Manzari is granted in part and denied in part.