Marine Engineering Expert Witness Testimony Not Allowed in Vessel Personal Injury Lawsuit

Overview: Marine Engineering Expert Witness testimony not allowed as the court ruled that he did not provide any evidence to support his opinions about the gangway.

Facts: This case (Green v. Cosco Shipping Lines Co – United States District Court – Southern District of Georgia – February 15, 2023) involves a personal injury claim.  The plaintiff, Romare J. Green, alleges that he was exiting a vessel operated by the defendants, when the handrail collapsed, which caused him to fall and land on a dock adjacent to the gangway.  Green alleges that he sustained injuries to his right shoulder.  To assist in his case, Green has hired Marine Engineering Expert Witness Richard Galuk to provide expert witness testimony on his behalf.  The defendants filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion: The defendants claim that Galuk’s expert witness testimony should be excluded because he is not qualified to offer an opinion in this case and that his opinions are not reliable or helpful.  First, they allege that Galuk does not have experience with container vessels.  They also claim that he does not have prior experience in inspecting container ship equipment  or overseeing cargo operations.  The court ruled, however, that Green has satisfactorily proved that Galuk is qualified to testify on the gangway.

Regarding reliability, the court notes that Galuk identified no testimony, video, or any other evidence to support one or more of his opinions.  In addition, he did not perform any tests or rely on any methodology to form his opinion.  Thus, the court opined that his testimony is not reliable under Daubert.  In addition, the defendants argue that two of Galuk’s opinions are irrelevant and not helpful.  The court agreed and ruled that these opinions are not helpful or relevant.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness opinion of Richard Galuk is granted.