Friday, May 13, 2011

Sue Pluck v. BP Oil Pipeline Company

May 12: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 09-4572. Appealed from the Northern District of Ohio at Akron. In this toxic tort case alleging exposure to benzene, plaintiffs-appellants Sue and Ray Pluck appeal the district court's order granting summary judgment to defendant-appellee BP Oil Pipeline Company (BP). The Plucks challenge the district court's grant of BP's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of their specific-causation expert, Dr. James Dahlgren, as unreliable under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). They also argue that the district court should have admitted Dahlgren's supplemental declaration, which contradicted his prior testimony and was untimely filed. Based upon the arguments, the Plucks contend that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to BP. The Appeals Court affirmed the district court in all respects.
    The Appeals Court explained further saying, "We have recognized that "[d]istrict courts have broad discretion to exclude untimely disclosed expert-witness testimony," particularly when these reports serve as a "transparent attempt to reopen" the Daubert inquiry after the weaknesses in the  expert's prior testimony have been revealed. Pride v. BIC Corp., 218 F.3d 566, 578–79 (6th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). In this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking Dahlgren's untimely supplemental declaration, in which he attempted to bolster his deficient opinion by employing a new causation
methodology. We also conclude that, because Dahlgren did not provide a specific causation opinion satisfying the requirements of Rule 702, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on behalf of BP."
    Access the complete opinion (click here).  [*Toxics, *Air, *CA6]

No comments: