Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Part

Plaintiff sued defendant after falling off ladder manufactured by defendant.  Plaintiff hired Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude, which was granted in part and denied in part.

Facts:  This case (Morejon v. Louisville Ladder, Inc. – United States District Court – Southern District of Florida – March 27th 2018) involves a fall off a ladder.  The plaintiff fell while using a ladder manufactured by the defendant and subsequently sued for strict liability, strict liability (negligence).  The plaintiff hired Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness, Oren Masory, Ph.D to provide testimony and the defendant filed a motion to exclude Dr. Masory’s opinion.

Discussion: The defendant argues that Dr. Masory does not have the qualifications to provide an opinion on the defect of the ladder.  They also allege that Dr. Masory’s opinions are conclusory, unsubstantiated, and are not reliable under the Federal Rules of Evidence 702.

Regarding qualifications, the defendant argues that Dr. Masory has no experience with ladders, has never designed a ladder, has never taken a course on ladder safety, and has never used an extension ladder to access a roof.  The plaintiff maintains that Dr. Masory is qualified because he has a bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.  The court agreed with the plaintiff, stating that any arguments on qualification goes to the weight of the evidence and not the admissibility.

The defendant also argues that Dr. Masory’s methodology is not reliable because he did not form any testing, modeling, simulations, or accident reconstruction to reach his conclusions.  The plaintiff points to a test that Dr. Masory performed to prove his points.  The court again agreed with the plaintiff, stating that any arguments regarding reliability goes to the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility.  In addition, the defendant maintains that Dr. Masory did not account three critical factors when forming his opinion.  The court again opined that any arguments such as these go to the weight of the evidence.

The defendant also objects to Dr. Masory’s opinion that the subject ladder is unsafe.  The court here agreed with the defendant, stating that Dr. Masory will be prohibited from testifying that the ladder is unsafe.  In addition, Dr.  Masory will not be allowed to opine that a walk-though device at the top of the ladder would have prevented the fall.

Last, the court opined that Dr. Masory’s opinion will assist the jury because the issue is beyond the purview of the average juror.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness, Oren Masory, Ph.D was granted in part and denied in part.