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Goldberg Segalla Achieves Daubert Victory for Golf Car Manufacturer in Rollover Case

Case Study

Goldberg Segalla Achieves Daubert Victory for Golf Car Manufacturer in Rollover Case

March 18, 2013
David S. Osterman

Goldberg Segalla successfully defended a golf car manufacturer in a New York product liability action alleging liability for a plaintiff’s serious injuries following a rollover accident. David S. Osterman, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Product Liability Practice Group, handled the case.

In this case, a plaintiff was seriously injured while operating a golf car made by our client. His injuries included a spinal fracture, resulting in paralysis below the waist with partial paralysis in his upper body. The action brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York alleged that the golf car at issue was defectively designed, and alleged liability of the manufacturer under a theory of strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty, and failure to warn. In addition, the plaintiff’s father brought a claim for loss of consortium.

Our defense countered the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony through a Daubert challenge, which requires expert testimony to be based upon sufficient facts or data and to be the product of reliable principles and methods that are applied reliably to the facts of the case. The court agreed with our challenge to the admissibility of the testimony of two plaintiffs’ expert witnesses: first, because a computer simulation model used by one expert was not reliable because it has not been validated and used flawed input values, and second, because another of the plaintiff’s experts lacked the requisite qualifications to testify as an expert and his opinions were unreliable and manufactured for the purpose of litigation.

The Eastern District of New York found that neither of these experts met the requirements of Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and, therefore, granted our motion to preclude their testimony. In granting summary judgment to our client on March 18, 2013, the court noted, “Having excluded the testimony of plaintiffs’ experts, plaintiffs do not have any evidence that the golf car had a defect — let alone that the defect was a substantial factor in causing the injury — or any evidence of the feasibility of an alternative design that would have prevented the accident.”