Articles Posted in Experts

An Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed and remanded a decision from a Cook County trial judge after it entered a judgment order following a jury verdict. Scott Gilman drove over one of Sweta Karn’s feet as he was making a left turn at a Chicago intersection on Oct. 10, 2013. She filed a lawsuit a month later against him and his employer, Aspen Painting Inc. ,for negligence. At the jury trial, the defendants raised the defenses of contributory negligence and failure to mitigate damages.

Multiple expert witnesses testified that Karn suffered “severe and permanent” nerve injury to her left foot. One of the experts, Dr. Oleg Petrov, a witness for the defendants, was questioned about a surveillance video submitted by the defendants that “allegedly showed plaintiff, after the date of the injury, walking and standing for long periods of time without any signs of discomfort or pain.”

Although the person walking in the video was never identified, Dr. Petrov used the video as the basis for his opinion that Karn’s injuries were not severe or permanent. Dr. Dean Stern, who was Karn’s podiatrist and surgeon, testified at the trial that she was not the person in the surveillance video that Dr. Petrov used.

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Plaintiff Frank Russo filed a lawsuit against the defendant, Corey Steel Co., to recover damages for injuries he suffered when a crane struck a lift in which Russo was working at the defendant’s plant. Corey Steel admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to a trial before a jury to deliberate solely on the issue of damages.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Russo for a total amount of $9.9 million in damages. Corey Steel retained additional counsel, and as a result, the trial judge who presided over the trial recused himself of the post-trial proceedings.

Corey Steel filed a post-trial motion for a new trial on several grounds. The post-trial judge granted defendant’s motion for a new trial based solely on defendant’s argument that the trial judge erroneously allowed one of plaintiff’s experts to offer an opinion on plaintiff’s need for one future surgery. The trial judge had allowed the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony to stand. The post-trial judge denied defendant’s post-trial motion on the other grounds raised in the motion.

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Jeffrey Kopplin worked for Wisconsin Central Railroad. In January 2014, he was operating a train at the rail yard in Fond du Lac, Wis. In order to bring the train onto the right track, Kopplin had to get out of the train and “throw” a switch.

The weather that morning was severe, with below-freezing temperatures and high winds. Due to the weather, ice and snow had built up inside of the switch. Kopplin attempted to remove the buildup with a broom provided by the railroad, but he was unsuccessful. In attempting to remove the buildup of ice and snow, Kopplin injured his elbow.

A doctor diagnosed his injury with a medial and lateral epicondylitis. Kopplin took time off from work to receive treatment, including a pain-relief injection.

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This was a case of a rear-end car crash in which the plaintiff, William Kevin Peach, brought a lawsuit against Lyndsey E. McGovern  stemming  from personal injuries he sustained in an automobile incident. The jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant, and the judgment on the verdict was entered.

The plaintiff appealed, contending that the jury verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, especially when the defendant was adjudged negligent as a matter of law. The plaintiff further asserted that the trial court erred in allowing the defense counsel, over objection, to present evidence pertaining to the relative amount of damage sustained by the vehicles. The plaintiff also argued that there was a direct correlation between the amount of damage to the vehicles, as depicted in photographs and plaintiff’s injuries.

In this case, the plaintiff was on his way home around 10 p.m. after visiting his girlfriend on the evening of July 17, 2010. As he was driving home, he had to stop at an intersection to allow traffic to clear. While waiting at the stop sign, the rear of plaintiff’s pickup truck was hit by another vehicle driven by the defendant who was also on her way home. The defendant claims she was fully stopped behind plaintiff, when her foot slipped off the brake. She further testified that the vehicle simply rolled into the rear of the plaintiff’s truck. The plaintiff, on the other hand, estimated the defendant’s speed to have been 20-25 mph at the time of impact.  He also noticed that the defendant was on her cell phone.

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Steven Campbell testified at trial that in early July 2012 he was working for UPS when the defendant’s dog lunged at him and pushed him backward. As a result, Campbell injured his back and was not able to continue to work that day. He sought medical treatment and took some time off from work to recover.

He returned to work the next month. However, when he did return to UPS, he was unable to complete all of his normal employment responsibilities.

Just two months after Campbell’s July 2012 injury, he returned to the clinic where he had previously been treated. In November of that year, he consulted with a board-certified neurosurgeon regarding his ongoing back pain. This doctor, Dr. Kennedy, prescribed physical therapy and epidural injections. Campbell told the jury that he followed Dr. Kennedy’s advice.

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago has affirmed the grant of defendant’s motion for summary judgment in the plaintiff’s lawsuit that alleged that the product Testim, which was manufactured by Auxilium Pharmaceuticals as a topical gel containing testosterone, caused the plaintiff, Isaac Owens, to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The federal district court in Chicago granted Auxilium’s motion to exclude Owens’ sole expert witness on the issue of causation linking Testim to his medical condition.

The appeals panel stated that the district court could properly exclude causation testimony from the Owens’ expert, when: (1) although the expert opined that Testim had caused plaintiff’s DVT, he did so under the assumption that Owens was applying the prescribed dose of the gel in the proper manner; (2) Owens conceded that he had used only half of the prescribed dosage and applied the gel in the wrong parts of his body; and (3) Owens’ expert could not express an opinion regarding causation under circumstances that more accurately described Owens’ use and application of Testim.

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The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago has affirmed a lower court decision by a federal judge dismissing Gregory Cripe’s lawsuit for exposure to chemical toxic fumes from Pur-Fect Lok 834A. This product is a glue made by the defendant, Henkel Corp. Cripe was exposed to the toxic fumes when he was working on his employer’s roof.

The glue in question contained methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, which can cause serious injury.

Cripe and his wife, Tammy, sued Henkel Corp. under the diversity of citizenship jurisdiction in federal court, contending that exposure to the chemical byproduct of the glue caused both neurological and psychological problems, which could have been prevented if the adhesive had better warnings.

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The plaintiff Stephen Limoges claimed that he suffered significant pulmonary injuries as a result of inhaling the toxic fumes following a chemical spill. Plaintiffs brought suit against three different entities, including Arden Engineering Constructors LLC, alleging that they were individually and collectively responsible for Limoges’s injuries. Mr. Limoges was an employee of the State of Rhode Island as an Assistant Administrator to Facilities and Operations. His duties included overseeing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) in the state’s courthouses.  The Limoges lawsuit claimed that on August 8, 2008, a pipe that carried bromine in the HVAC system at a judicial complex in Providence ruptured causing a chemical spill.  When this pipe burst, Mr. Limoges rushed to the scene to stop the leak.  Limoges asserted that while he was trying to stop the leak, he inhaled bromine which caused his serious pulmonary injuries.  Limoges’ wife was a party plaintiff in this case claiming loss of consortium.

Arden Engineering filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial level judge granted. Limoges appealed, arguing that that the court made an improper credibility assessment about the affidavit of the Limoges expert and because the judge overlooked material issues of fact that were in dispute. Arden had argued that the Limoges expert’s affidavit was false and that the expert did not provide a basis for his opinions.  Arden maintained that this expert’s affidavit was completely failed to identify one fact which would make Arden responsible, let alone owe a duty to Limoges.

Limoges argued that the expert’s affidavit was sufficient to establish duty and breach, particularly at the summary-judgment phase of the proceedings.

The state Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court, holding that the plaintiff’s expert’s affidavit, combined with the documents that were available to the hearing justice, raised a material  issue of fact as to whether Arden Engineering was responsible for Limoges’s injury.  The attorney representing the Limoges family was Amato A. DeLuca of Providence, RI.

 

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Missouri’s HB 153 became law recently, supplanting the expert witness screening standard set out in the Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705. Missouri’s new expert witness standard  effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal cases to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

Until the law enactment, R.S.Mo. 490.065 has set forth the requirements for admission of expert testimony in Missouri state courts. In its present form, the language of the statute has varied significantly from the familiar expert witness standard set forth in the Federal Rules of Evidence and the rules of numerous sister states that track the federal rules.

Missouri appellate decisions have noted on occasion that Daubert and its progeny could provide “guidance” when the federal rules and the Missouri rules match up. See, e.g. State Bd. of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146, 155-156 (Mo. 2003) (Wolff, J, concurring in part and dissenting in part), and Goddard v. State, 144 S.W.3d 848, 852-853 (Mo. App. S.D. 2004).

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On July 28, 2008 Mai Leen Aguilar-Santos was injured in a car crash alleged to have been caused by the defendant, Helen Brine. On April 1, 2010 the lawsuit against Brine was filed by Mai Leen Aguilar-Santos seeking to recover damages for her injuries caused in the accident. Mai Leen claimed she sustained injuries to her neck, back and burns to her arm from the deployment of the airbag.

Before trial, the court granted Mai Leen’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Brine breached her duty of ordinary care in causing the car collision. Brine then filed an amended answer admitting that her negligence was the proximate cause of Mai Leen’s injuries, but denied that the injuries she sustained in the accident were permanent. Two treating doctors provided trial testimony.

One doctor, Dr. Lim, an orthopedic surgeon, testified that Mai Leen’s injuries and symptoms identified in the medical records were caused by the accident. He said Mai Leen’s condition may deteriorate with age or treatment. Dr. Lim examined Mai Leen recently and testified that she required future and further medical treatment for her pain and problems related to the automobile collision. The other treating physician, Dr. Malek, testified that Mai Leen suffered a permanent injury. Dr. Malek had not seen Mai Leen for 15 months prior to his evidence deposition that was presented to the jury.

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