Metallurgy Expert Witness Testimony Excluded

Plaintiff filed lawsuit involving pulling a dolly off an elevated dock lift.  Plaintiff hired a Metallurgy Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude, which was granted by the court

Facts:  This case (Siegel v. Blue Giant Equipment, LLC – United States District Court – Northern District of Oklahoma – October 31st, 2018) involves a products liability claim.  The plaintiff alleges that he sustained injuries when he pulled a heavily-laden dolly off an elevated Blue Giant dock lift and onto himself.  The plaintiff has hired Metallurgy Expert Witness, Robert J. Block, Ph.D to provide expert witness testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Block.

Discussion: Dr. Block opines that the lift was unreasonably dangerous and defective because it did not have in its design and manufacture adequate protection against roll-off of loaded wheeled conveyances and did not have adequate and durable warning signs.  The defendant alleges that Dr. Block’s testimony should be excluded because he is not qualified to testify in this case and that his opinions are not grounded in the facts of the case.  In addition, the defendant maintains that his opinions do not result from a strong methodology and thus, should be excluded for unreliability factors.

Dr. Block’s opinion is based on his review of documents related to the operation of the defendant’s elevating dock, the circumstances of the accident, and his examination and testing of the elevating dock.

The court opines that Dr. Block is not qualified to offer an opinion in this case.  The court states that he has never worked as a mechanical engineer, has never designed a machine that was produced and put into production, and has never designed a dock lift.  In addition, the court opines that he has no experience with the type of equipment at issue in this case., nor has he read any book on material handling machinery.  Also, Dr. Block has never encountered a dock lift equipped with a hinged bridge before this case.

In his report. Dr. Block cited the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards in support of his opinion that the defendant’s lift was defective because it was not adequately guarded.  The defendant states, and the court agrees, that a different ANSI standard should have been used in this case.

Last, the defendant asserts that Dr. Block’s opinion is nothing more than bare legal conclusions.  The court agrees.

Conclusion:  The defendant’s motion to exclude the expert opinion of Robert J. Block, Ph.D is granted.