MG+M (“MG+M”) partners Chris Massenburg, Max Swetman, David Frohn, and Brandie Thibodeaux, along with associates Kevin Sloan and Meaghan Donovan have won favorable rulings in two key motions on behalf of firm client DB Industries, Inc., in Stewart v. Capital Safety USA, a products liability case that is being tried in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
DB Industries operates as a subsidiary of Capital Safety and is a defendant in the case, which involves allegations by the plaintiff that the failure of equipment manufactured by the defendants resulted in the wrongful death of their son, who died after a fall from an oil-derrick. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for wrongful death and recoverable expenses.
The plaintiffs offered an expert witness, Stephen Killingsworth, who testified in support of their assertions that the equipment manufactured by Capital Safety USA and DB Industries was defectively designed and failed to provide adequate warnings. In his testimony, Killingsworth repeatedly failed to provide any alternative designs that he thought would have been adequate, or to answer questions regarding why he thought Capital Safety’s warnings insufficient. In response, MG+M attorneys filed a motion on behalf of the defendants seeking to exclude Killingsworth's testimony, arguing that his opinions are “unreliable because they are untested and unsupported personal opinions, and therefore do not support the required elements of Plaintiffs' claims.” In its order granting the motion, the court applied the Daubert Standard, excluding the witness’s testimony on the basis that his “theories on product defects and accident causation lack the reliability and testability that is required,” according to Daubert under FRE 702.
The defendants also offered their own expert witness, Gregg S. Perkins, who testified in his deposition that the son of the plaintiffs violated his employer’s safety policy, practice, and procedure. The plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a Daubert Hearing to exclude the testimony. In its ruling denying the motion filed by the plaintiffs, the court noted that they had “not only failed to show that a hearing is necessary, but also failed to present any competent evidence… to exclude the expert testimony of Perkins.”
The full ruling granting the defense’s motion to exclude Killingsworth’s testimony can be read here. The ruling denying the plaintiff’s motion to exclude Perkins’ testimony can be read here.