Plaintiff filed a conspiracy claim against defendants related to her husband’s exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff hired a pathology expert witness, an environmental engineering expert witness and an engineering expert witness to assist in her case. The defendant filed a motion to exclude, which was denied by the court.
Facts: This case (MacQueen v. Union Carbide Corporation et al – United States District Court – District of Delaware 0 March 14th, 2018) involves a personal injury action related to alleged exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff (MacQueen) alleges that her husband was exposed to asbestos while employed by the United States Navy and while working as a salesman for Union Carbide Corporation. The only count left in this case involves an alleged conspiracy to supress and misrepresent the hazards associated to the exposure of asbestos. MacQueen has hired James R. Bruce, M.D. (pathology expert witness), Barry I. Castleman, Sc.D. (environmental engineering expert witness), and Captain Francis J. Burger (engineering expert witness) to provide testimony. The defendant (Crane) has filed motions to exclude the testimony of these witnesses.
Discussion: Crane first argues that Dr. Bruce’s report should be excluded because he does not opine that there was a conspiracy between Crane and any other entity which caused MacQueen’s lung cancer. MacQueen argues that Dr. Bruce’s opinion is offered to show that MacQueen’s lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos. The court agreed with the plaintiff first showing that MacQueen’s asbestos was caused by lung cancer is relevant to the case, and therefore, Dr. Bruce’s expert testimony will be allowed.
Next, Crane argues that Dr. Castleman’s testimony should be excluded because he does not set forth an opinion on Crane’s knowledge or their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to suppress the hazards of asbestos exposure. The plaintiff argues that Dr. Castleman’s testimony should be allowed because it will show what Crane knew regarding the hazards of asbestos. The court agrees with the plaintiff on this issue as well, because what Crane knew about asbestos seems to be relevant to a charge of conspiracy.
Last, Crane argues that Captain Burger’s testimony should be excluded because he does not provide any opinions about the alleged conspiracy between Crane and other entities. The plaintiff believes that Captain Burger’s testimony could contribute to the general exposure causation part of the conspiracy theory. The court ruled that it cannot say, at this part of the case, whether or not this testimony will be helpful, so it opined that it will deny the motion without prejudice and will renew the motion at a later date.
Conclusion: The motion to dismiss the expert witness testimony of James R. Bruce, M.D., Barry I. Castleman, Sc.D. and Captain Francis J. Burger are denied.