Expert Challenges Fail In Material Handling Cart Product Liability Case

Following a worker’s injury alleged caused by a material handling cart used to bring stock to the customer floor in a national retailer’s store, the worker brought an action alleging that the manufacturer of the cart was strictly liable for the defective design of the cart.  Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois denied the manufacturer’s motions to exclude two of the plaintiff’s proposed experts.

First, the manufacturer attempted to exclude the testimony of a mechanical engineer whom the defendant manufacturer argued was not qualified because he had not previously investigated these types of carts.  The court emphasized that an expert witness did not have to previously investigate the exact product at issue in order to provide an opinion in a case, and that this expert had previously investigated shopping carts, luggage carts, and other types of carts.  Similarly, the court rejected the manufacturer’s challenge to a biomechanical engineer who had never testified in a previous case.  Specifically, the court found that if “the failure to have given previous testimony as an expert alone was fatal to being qualified as an expert witness, then no experts would ever be qualified, as every expert has to testify for a first time.”

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