On June 8, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted out client’s motion to exclude the report and testimony of Plaintiff’s expert and motion for summary judgment in this products liability case. Plaintiff, a 45 year old homemaker, alleged that she sustained serious second degree burns and permanent scarring over 20% percent of her body when a cooking spray can vented in her hand while cooking. Plaintiff and her husband sued our client as the entity responsible for design and manufacture of an aerosol can that was used for the codefendant’s cooking spray products. The case was complicated by spoliation issues when the can was negligently discarded before the Plaintiffs’ depositions. Defendants moved to exclude the report and testimony of Plaintiffs’ engineering expert on the ground that he lacked the “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” that would qualify him as an expert. Fed. R. Evid. 702 and that his opinions were not supported by facts, or analysis, as required by Rule 702 and Daubert.
In ruling on our client’s motion, the Hon. Pamela K. Chen, U.S.D.J., held that Plaintiffs’ proffered design-defect testimony failed to meet the Daubert test for reliability and relevancy. Specifically, the court held that Plaintiffs’ expert failed to explain how his proposed alternative design is a safer alternative and, in any event, his proposed design alternative would have made no actual difference with respect to the incident at issue. The court also noted that Plaintiffs’ expert had performed no testing, and his proposal regarding design alternatives had not been subjected to peer review or publication, did not have a “known rate of error”, and that Plaintiffs had failed to show general acceptance of either their expert’s design or methodology. The court found that, without admissible expert testimony, Plaintiffs could not sustain their burden to establish a product defect that proximately caused their injuries, and granted summary judgment in favor of our client dismissing the case.