Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Federal Court Rules that Tincher Decision Did Not Change Daubert Test for Admissibility of Expert Testimony

In a recent decision out of the Federal Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania in the case of DeJesus v. Knight Industries &Associates, No. 10-07434 (E.D. Pa. April 18, 2016 Pappert, J.), the court granted a Daubert motion pertaining to a Plaintiff’s expert in a products liability case involving a Plaintiff who was allegedly injured as a result of an allegedly defective lift table in a Harley Davidson manufacturing plant.  The allegedly defective lift table was manufactured by Knight Industries.  

In its decision, the court noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Tincher altered Pennsylvania law in products liability cases by returning the “unreasonably dangerous” question to the jury.  The court also noted that Tincher changed Pennsylvania law by rejecting the per se  elimination of negligence concepts from strict liability law.  To the contrary, the court stated that both prongs of Tincher’s composite risk/utility and consumer expectation tests are ordinarily to be decided by the jury.  

The Tincher decision was also found to have rejected the theory of defect where the product left the supplier’s control lacking any element necessary to make it safe for its intended use or possessing any feature that renders the product unsafe for its intended use.  

However, the federal district court stated that the Tincher decision did not affect its prior exclusion of the Plaintiff’s expert testimony in this matter because the Tincher decision did not affect the law pertaining to the Daubert analysis and that law’s prohibition of speculative and unreliable expert testimony.  

Anyone wishing to review this decision online may click this LINK.
 

I send thanks to Attorney James Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reid Smith and the writer of the notable legal blog, The Drug and Device Law Blog.    


 

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