Summary: Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness testimony not decided as the court opined that there were compelling arguments on both sides.

Facts:  This case (Bailon v. Landstar Ranger Inc – United States District Court – Northern District of Texas – September 27th, 2019) involves a car accident.  The plaintiff alleges that the driver other the other car, acting in within the court and scope of the defendant, his employer, collided with her vehicle.  The plaintiff alleges that she suffered severe injuries, and seeks compensation for those injuries.  The defendant intends to call Officer Christopher Cortemelia as an Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness.  The plaintiff has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

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Summary: Three experts including a Vocational Evaluation & Rehabilitation Expert Witness were allowed to testify regarding lost earnings in a tankerman’s injury case. 

Facts: Carr vs Enterprise Marine Services LLC,  Case No. 19-14777 Section “G”(3) (U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana) involves a maritime injury dispute. The plaintiff claims he sustained spine injuries while working as a tankerman for Enterprise Marine Services (EMS). The plaintiff referenced the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C § 30104 for his claims. Under the Jones Act, if a seamen is injured while working, there is a right to utilize civil action as protection. An unsafe workplace and unreliable machine parts were cited as the basis for the case. Damages for the injuries, lost revenue, expenses for medical care, and enjoyment of life were sought by the plaintiff. Beyond the claims of injury, the plaintiff looked to bring three expert witnesses which included a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert, an Economic Expert Witness, and an Admiralty and Maritime Expert Witness to the case. Enterprise Marine Service put forth a motion in limine to limit plaintiff’s expert witness testimony. 

Discussion: Enterprise Marine Service saw Carr’s claims of injury and potential lost revenue as illegitimate and tried to remove all of the expert witnesses, including a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert Witness, Kasey Crawford. Crawford alleges that had Carr not been injured, he would have eventually entered into the Steersman Program and been a Captain in the future. Enterprise Marine Services moved to strike Crawford’s position as an expert witness in the case. Additionally, an Economic Expert Witness, Dr. Rice, suggested that had Carr continued to work until he was seventy-four, he would have lost significant profit caused by the injury. Enterprise Marine Services also wanted to exempt this claim from the case. 

Summary: Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness allowed to provide testimony even though the defendant’s argued that he was not qualified to offer an opinion.

Facts:  This case (Landi et al v. Home Depot USA, Inc. et al – United States District Court – Middle District of Florida – September 24th, 2019) involves a products liability claim.  The plaintiff claims that he was injured while using a miter saw manufactured by the defendant and purchased from Home Depot.  The plaintiff alleges that he was using the saw to cut crown molding, operating the saw with his right hand and holding the crown molding with his left.  The plaintiff claims that while the blade was spinning, the crown molding was pulled to the right and the plaintiff’s left arm was pulled as well.  The blade subsequently cut into the plaintiff’s left forearm.  The plaintiff hired Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness Dr. Charles E. Benedict to provide expert witness testimony and the defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

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Summary: Supply Chain Expert Witness not allowed to testify as the defendants argued correctly that his testimony was not reliable.

Facts:  In this case (Keystone Transportation Solutions, LLC v. Northwest Hardwoods, Inc et al – United States District Court – Western District of Virginia – April 19th, 2019), the plaintiff alleges that the defendants, one of which was previously the plaintiff’s president and now works for the defendant, interfered with its business interests and improperly gained access to confidential trade secrets underlying a Shipper Savings Model.  The plaintiff has appointed David Steffens (Supply Chain Expert Witness) to provide expert testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

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Summary: Railroad Expert Witness allowed to provide testimony even though the defendant argued that his testimony was not reliable.

Facts:  This case (Steggall v. BNSF Railway Company – United States District Court – District of Nebraska – April 4th, 2019) involves a claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”).  The plaintiff alleges that he slipped and fell on ice in the defendant’s Alliance, Nebraska railyard and sustained injuries.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendant negligently and carelessly failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe place to work by committing enumerated negligent acts or omissions.  The plaintiff has hired Railroad Expert Witness Brian Hansen to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

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Summary: Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness allowed to provide testimony even though the defendants argued that he did not have the qualifications to provide testimony.

Facts:  This case (Klorczyk et al v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. et al – United States District Court – District of Connecticut – March 29th, 2019) involves a claim of wrongful death.  The plaintiffs (the estate of the decedent) allege that the decedent died because of a defective jack stand that allowed a car to fall on him and crush him.  They have sued the defendants that they allege designed, manufactured, and sold the jack stand.  The defendants deny that the decedent used their jack stand or that their jack stand was defective.  The plaintiff’s hired Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

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Summary: The report of a Patent Expert Witness was limited in a copyright infringement case as to the apportionment of damages

Facts: This case (Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc. – United States District Court- Northern District of California –  March 13, 2012) involves a patent dispute. The plaintiff, Oracle America, alleges that the defendant, Google, used code that was copyrighted. Dr. Ian Cockburn wrote a damages report for this case which included five methods of apportionment. First, Dr. Cockburn reviewed the 2006 request for $99 million to Google. Second, he suggested adjusting the pay of the lawsuit to $557 million to match potential lost revenue. Third, he adds on another $28 million by removing a revenue-sharing cap. Fourth, he encourages the use of alternative methods including the “group and value” and “independent significance” approaches. Fifth, he downwardly adjusts because of potential extraterritorial infringement. After the damage report had been reviewed, Dr. Cockburn’s calculated patent damages stood between $18 and $56 million with the copyright lost license fee between $35 and $112 million. Google then acted to strike the report.

Discussion: The court evaluated Dr. Cockburn’s potential apportionment methods. Dr. Cockburn started with the “Group and Value” method which focuses on specific patents and copyrights with the payment from Google to Oracle equaling their importance to the function of the smartphone. Google opines that this was a biased approach because Oracle engineers gave each patent their value, though this ended up being a point for cross examination instead. Dr. Cockburn concluded that there were lower and upper bound patents with the upper bound patents carrying more weight, thus being more of value. The court took issue with the upper bound ranking and ended up striking it with the lower bound and overall group and value method being approved. Additionally, damages did not have to be apportioned on a claim-by-claim basis and Dr. Cockburn’s value distribution curve was allowed to be applied after Google refuted their use.