Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a Texas car accident case illustrating the importance of expert testimony. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether a subsequent report issued by the plaintiff’s expert was admissible. Ultimately, the court concluded that the report was properly excluded, and affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendant manufacturer.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was killed in a single-vehicle car accident after his Jeep Wrangler swerved off the road and into a concrete pillar. There was no known cause for the accident, and investigators noticed that the grass under the Jeep was charred, as though there had been a fire. A few days after the crash, the manufacturer issued a recall of the transmission oil controller (TOC). Evidently, a defective TOC could result in the undercarriage of a vehicle catching fire.
The plaintiff’s surviving loved ones filed a Texas product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. In support of their claim, they consulted with an expert. However, after reviewing the data, the expert could not definitively state that the recall defect caused the fire. After learning of the expert’s opinion, the plaintiffs moved for additional discovery related to Jeep fires that were caused by other defects. After reviewing this data, the plaintiff’s expert submitted an amended report, concluding that a defective TOC caused the fire.
The defendant manufacturer objected to the expert’s second report on the basis that the expert did not review any additional data regarding the defect at issue, and only reviewed data from fires caused by unrelated defects. The defense argued that the data necessary for the expert’s opinion was available to him before the request for additional information, making the expert’s report unreliable.
The court agreed with the defendant manufacturer and affirmed the lower court’s decision. The court noted that the newly requested data provided data on unrelated fires, and that a review of this data would only allow the expert to have ruled out other potential causes of the fire. In other words, the data would not assist the expert in making an affirmative finding that the TOC caused the fire. Thus, the court held that the expert’s subsequent report failed “to connect the dots between the newly disclosed information and his conclusion.”
Have You Been Injured in a Texas Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Texas car accident, contact the dedicated San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Carabin Shaw. At Carabin Shaw, we have over 25 years of experience representing injury victims in all types of Texas personal injury claims, including car accidents and product liability claims. We provide free consultations to accident victims in which we provide an overview of how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation. To learn more, call 800-862-1260 to schedule your free consultation today.
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