The plaintiff commenced an action claiming the decedent was exposed to asbestos while working between 1950 and 1991 at Milprint, a producer and printer of candy wrappers, snack bags, and cheese pouches. In support of her claim, the plaintiff relied on testimony of the decedent’s co-workers. In the lower court, the defendants made a series of motions in limine that were decided at the trial level. On appeal, the defendants challenged those rulings. Of particular interest was the trial court’s ruling that the co-workers could not testify as to asbestos content of the products based on their visual observation.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to exclude co-worker testimony that products contained asbestos by visual observation: “We agree with CR Meyer that determining whether a particular substance contains asbestos requires scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge. The presence of asbestos in a substance is not ascertainable by the naked eye. Rather, absent specialized knowledge, scientific testing is required to determine the substance’s chemical and mineral composition. Thus, testimony that a substance contains asbestos falls outside the realm of lay opinion testimony.”
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