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Barring Expert Testimony Based On Net Opinion Upheld by NJ App Div.

November 24, 2010

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In <i>Sims v. Deltec Power Systems</i>, the Appellate Court upheld an Order barring a plaintiff's liability expert from testifying at the time of trial. Plaintiff, Calvert Smith, alleged personal injuries due to exposure to sulfuric acid fumes. According to the plaintiff, a group of batteries attached to an uninerruptible power supply unit malfunctioned, and caused the release of fumes. Plaintiff brought suit against the manufacturer of the batteries.
Plaintiff's expert, Mark Keith, testified that a manufacturing defect caused the leak, an opinion which was premised upon the fact that the battery casing was cracked. However, there was no evidence in the record to suggest that any of the batteries were cracked. Furthermore, plainitff's expert acknowledged that one of two things could have caused the release of the fumes- negligence or a product defect. Ultimately, the appellate court upheld the trial court's opinion that plaintiff's expert's testimony constituted an inadmissable net opinion which was properly excluded.
Thank you to Heather Aquino for this post.
<a href="http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a1058-09.pdf">http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a1058-09.pdf</a>

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