Proposed Liability Expert Rejected In Table Saw Design Case

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has precluded the testimony of a plaintiff’s proposed liability expert in a case alleging that a table saw that severed part of plaintiff’s left hand was defectively designed.  Adopting the magistrate judge’s recommendations, the court found that the proposed expert had testified at approximately 100 trials and had been deposed 400 to 500 times, but never for the defense.  The expert had no training or experience in designing table saws, had never lectured or taught courses on the design or manufacture of saws, never owned a table saw, and had never worked as a carpenter.  The court emphasized that even though the proposed expert opined that certain technology and safety devices were available to improve the design of the table saw in question, the expert had never seen a marketed saw equipped with any of these safety devices.  To quote the district court, the part of the magistrate judge’s report that he could “barely” be “qualified to testify, is magnanimously charitable.”  The court concluded that regardless of his qualifications, the methods and principles used to reach his conclusions were “insufficient and unreliable” and did not meet the threshold for expert testimony under Federal Rule of Evidence 702.

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