Articles Posted in Experts

Sarina Finzer and Jeremy Hardison were born with severe birth defects. Their disabilities were claimed to have been caused in utero by their fathers’ exposure to toxic chemical fumes and airborne substances during their employment at Motorola Inc.’s semiconductor manufacturing plants in Arizona and Texas. The parents of these children are seeking damages, suing Motorola for (1) negligence, (2) strict tort liability, (3) breach of an assumed duty, (4) willful and wanton misconduct, and (5) loss of child consortium relating to the children’s birth defects and impairment to the parent-child relationship.

At the trial court level, it was found that plaintiffs could prove no set of facts that would entitle them to relief and thus the trial judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint pursuant to Section 2-615 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal, asserting that the trial judge erred in finding that (1) the exclusive remedy provision of the respective state workers’ compensation laws barred their claims, (2) no duty was owed to a not-yet conceived child, and (3) proximate cause could not be established as a matter of law, given that the fathers did not sustain an injury. Plaintiffs also claimed that the trial court erred in dismissing the willful and wanton misconduct count and the plaintiffs’ loss of child consortium count, which depended on pleading a viable cause of action for negligence.
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T’Miaya Smith’s son, J.H., began having seizures after his birth. A CT scan revealed ischemic injuries to his brain. Ischemic injuries result from the lack of blood flow to the brain causing brain damage. Smith, on behalf of her son, filed a lawsuit against Lauren Braswell, a midwife who provided care to Smith during her labor and delivery. The suit also named Atlanta Women’s Health Group, which was Braswell’s employer.

It was alleged that Braswell was negligent in the management of Smith’s labor and delivery. The defendants filed a motion to exclude the testimony of one of Smith’s expert witnesses. There was also a motion to exclude causation testimony from any of Smith’s expert witnesses and there was a motion for summary judgment. The trial judge granted the defendants’ motions. Smith appealed for the following reasons, but the appellate court affirmed.

Smith appealed to the Georgia Appellate Court to reverse the trial judge’s order excluding the testimony of the maternal-fetal medicine expert. The court stated, “The determination of whether a witness is qualified to render an opinion as an expert is a legal determination for the trial court and will not be disturbed absent a manifest abuse of discretion. The admissibility of expert testimony in civil cases provides:
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