Automobile Mechanical & Body Repair Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in BMW Engine Defect Case

Summary: Automobile Mechanical & Body Repair Expert Witness testimony not excluded even though the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s engine had a different engine than the one tested by the expert.

Facts: This case (Loy et al v. BMW of North America, LLC et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of Missouri – June 29th, 2022) involves a claim that BMW did not disclose that the plaintiff’s engine was defective and which caused it to burn an excessive amount of oil.  Plaintiff Loy argues that BMW knew about the engine issue, did not disclose it to their customers, and did not repair, as required by warranty.  In order to prove her claims, Loy hired Automobile Mechanical & Body Repair Expert Witness Darren Manzari to provide expert witness testimony on her behalf.  BMW filed a motion to exclude Manzari’s testimony under Daubert.

Discussion: BMW does not take issue with Manzari’s qualifications.  However, BMW claims that his expert witness testimony is unreliable and irrelevant.  The defendant argues that Manzari’s testimony is unreliable because Loy’s vehicle was equipped with N63T engine, and not an N63 engine, which Manzari based his testimony upon. The court is not convinced, as testimony has shown that the key defect in this case, the faulty stem seals, is the same in both engines.  To be sure, the court notes that Manzari reviewed a lot of materials to form his conclusion, including service and warranty information, service information bulletins about oil consumption issues, and his own experience with the N63 engine.  The court concludes that this specific challenge goes to the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility, and it is a matter for debate at cross-examination.

BMW also argues that Manzari’s expert witness testimony that the valve stem seals caused the excessive oil consumption should be excluded because it is based on a faulty understanding of  SIB B11 08 15,  which points out that the valve stems are defective when all other possible causes have been exhausted.  The court opines that Manzari based his opinions on numerous other factors, including service records, a Consumer Reports study, and BMW’s internal reports.

In addition, the court concludes that Manzari’s opinion that BMW concealed the defect from its customers is not an improper conclusion of law as it does not reach the legal question at issue in this case.

Summary:  The defendant’s motion to exclude Darren Manzari’s expert witness opinion is denied.