Tenth Circuit Affirms Decision Excluding Experts in Ladder Case for Failure To Test Theories

Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the owner of a waste systems facility in a case brought by a worker injured when he fell from a ladder while delivering fuel to the facility.  The district court had excluded the testimony of both of the worker’s expert witnesses, and then granted summary judgment for the facility owner given the absence of any causation testimony once the experts were excluded.

The experts had opined that the fuel-tank ladder was a “dangerous climbing structure that does not meet safety guidelines,” including that its twenty-two inch intra-rung spacing violated OSHA requirements.  The Tenth Circuit found that the district court had not abused its discretion in finding that neither proffered expert’s opinion was reliable given they had failed to test the theories or rule out reasonable alternative causes.  The worker had no memory as to how he fell and thus without the experts, there was no evidence in the record to prove causation.

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