Transportation Safety, Tires, and Mechanical Engineering Expert Witnesses Allowed

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants after he was injured installing a tire.  Both parties hired expert witnesses to assist in their cases and, subsequently, all three were the subjects of motions to exclude.  The court denied all of these motions.

Facts:  This case (Dodson et al v. Beijing Capital Tire Company, Ltd. et al – United States District Court – Middle District of Pennsylvania – September 27th, 2017) involves injuries sustained when a tire made by Beijing Capital Tire Company (BTC) ruptured while the plaintiff (Dodson) was was mounting and inflating the tire.  Two causes of action are present in this case: one for strict product liability and the other for negligence. Dodson hired Allan J. Kam (transportation safety expert witness) and William J. Woehrle (tires expert witness) to assist in his case and the defendants hired Alfred Cipriani (mechanical engineering expert witness) to provide expert witness testimony.  The three expert witnesses have been challenged to be excluded under Daubert.

Discussion: The plaintiff’s allege that Alfred Cipriani’s testimony is speculative, lacks adequate foundation, and does not have the relevant degree of certainty to be admitted.  They also state that Cipriani does not qualify to provide expert testimony in this case because he is not a tire design expert.  The court did not agree with the plaintiff’s here.  The court ruled that even though Cipriani is not an expert in tire design, he has a lot of experience in accident reconstruction to make him a viable witness.  As to the speculation arguments made by the plaintiffs, the main consideration is whether Cipriani affirmatively finds that the tire design was not the cause of the accident.  The court finds that he does and, thus, his testimony will not be excluded.

The defendant’s argue that Allan J. Kam’s testimony should be excluded because it will not help the trier of fact.  The court will only need to address the issue of due care and not causation, because Kam’s testimony only discusses the former.  Kam’s fellow expert, Alfred Cipriani, will be addressing the issue of causation.  The court ruled that the fact that Kam does not address the issue of causation is not sufficient enough to exclude his testimony.

Last, the defendants argue that William J. Woehrle does not have the correct experience in tire design to render an opinion in this case regarding the rupture in the tire.  In addition, they claim that he doesn’t have experience with the specific tires at issue, has not tested single strand bead ties, and is not an accident reconstructionist.  The court disagreed, stating that Woehrle does have significant practical experience on automotive component testing.

Conclusion:  The motions to exclude Allan J. Kam, William J. Woehrle, and Alfred Cipriani are denied.