Logistics/Freight Forwarding Expert Witness Allowed

Plaintiff filed sued against defendants after cargo fell on him.  Plaintiff hired a Logistics/Freight Forwarding Expert Witness to assist in his case.  Defendants sought to exclude this testimony, which was denied by the court.

Facts: This case (Richard Gray v. Kimberly-Clark Global Sales, et. al – United States District Court – Middle District of Pennsylvania – January 30th, 2018) involves injuries sustained by a truck driver when cargo fell on him after he opened the doors of a trailer he was hauling.  The warehouse where he picked up the cargo is leased by Kimberly-Clark and is operated by Kane Warehousing.  The plaintiff subsequently filed suit against the defendants asserting claims of negligence in failing to load, secure, and distribute the material in the trailer.  Since the plaintiff cannot remember how the incident occurred nor remember the the drive before the incident, he hired Logistics/Freight Forwarding Expert Witness,
Michael K. Napier, Sr. to provide testimony.  The defendant challenges this testimony.

Discussion:  Mr. Napier opines in his report that Kimberly-Clark failed to ensure the cargo was properly utilized, loaded, distributed, or secured to prevent moving of the cargo.  In addition, Mr. Napier opines that Kane did not properly inspect the loading and fastening process to ensure that the packaging wasn’t damaged or that the cargo was secured.  This failure, Mr. Napier continues, caused an hazard for the plaintiff.  The defendants allege that Mr. Napier’s opinions should be excluded because they are based on speculation and assumptions, not facts.

The defendants do not specifically attack the methodology that Mr. Napier used to come to his conclusions, except by stating that they consider it speculative.  To support their argument, they cite to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case (Warden v. Lyons Transportation).

The court opines that the issue in the Warden case is similar to the case at hand the issue is not the same.  In the Warden case, the expert used words such as “feasible” or “possible”, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled were not sufficient  to satisfy the plaintiff’s burden of proof.  In this case, the expert did not use qualifying words.  The court opines that Mr. Napier used precise, non-qualifying language.

The court also concludes that the defendants in this case are merely challenging the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility, arguments of which are proper during cross-examination, not before the trial.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Michael K. Napier, Sr. is denied.