Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness Testimony Not Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendant related to a personal injury claim.  Plaintiff hired a Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.  The court granted the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (McBride v. Carnival Corporation – United States District Court – Southern District of Florida – July 25th, 2019) involves a personal injury claim.  The cases arises from the plaintiff’s fall from her wheelchair while leaving the defendant’s vessel at a ramp within the gangway leading into the terminal building of the port of Miami.  The plaintiff has hired Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness, Frank Fore to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The court notes that Mr. Fore inspected, measured, and photographed the scene of the incident, reviewed materials from the case, looked at safety regulations and standards. and reviewed various scientific and technical literature on biomechanics.  He also lists eleven opinions from his findings.

The court finds that Mr. Fore’s methodology s wholly unreliable.  The court opines that the biomechanical analyses of the plaintiff’s body do not support any of his opinions.  The court also notes that his eleven opinions are based entirely on anecdotal experience or speculation.

The court also opines that a well known phenomena by a single expert witness is not the same as a principle generally accepted by the scientific community based on peer-reviewed studies.

In addition, the court opines, “his opinion that it was technically feasible to have the gangway ramp flush with the walkway surfaces is only supported by visual observation of the Atlanta airport jetway.”

Also, the court opines that it agrees with the defendant that an opinion such as how to safely push a wheelchair is not helpful under Daubert because the issue does not require specialized scientific understanding to evaluate.  In addition, Mr. Fore’s testimony about the safety regulations and standards he relied on would not be helpful to the jury.

Last, Mr. Fore’s opinion about whether the defendant had prior notice is a legal issue and it would not be helpful for Mr. Fore to provide an opinion that the defendant was aware of a prior incident that he considers to also be caused by the dangerousness of the gangway ramp.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness opinion of Frank Fore is granted.