July 23, 2014

Expert Excluded Again For Failing To Test Theory

Plaintiff’s expert testified “that the origin of the fire emanated from the wiring in the wall behind or near the stove located in the kitchen.” Plaintiff theorized that the “the fire occurred due to the church's failure to inspect and repair the wiring.” The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiff’s expert did not inspect the fire scene because the debris had already been removed and reconstruction had begun when the expert was first retained.  The Court excluded the expert’s opinion because the “opinions  were not based on any recognized testing or protocol applicable to fire-scene investigations and that his opinion was premised on his review of statements, an investigative report, and photographs.”  Noting that this very same expert was previously excluded while employing the same methodology, the court reasoned that the exclusion was appropriate because the expert: (1) had no physical evidence of the building’s electrical components ; (2) the expert’s methodology deviated from industry standards; and (3) the expert did not conduct any independent tests or analysis to support his conclusion as to the source of the fire.  The case is Huggins v. Guideone Services, LLC, 2012 WL 5395155 (Miss.App. Nov. 6 2012).

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About the Author

Gerald A. King, Explosion, fire, Electrocution litigation, attorney, Armstrong

Jerry King practices in all aspects of explosion, fire, and electrocution litigation, including products liability, class actions, trials, and appeals. As a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), as certified by the National Certification Board of the National Association of Fire Investigators and recognized by National Fire Protection Association 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, Jerry’s knowledge and experience allows him to provide effective and efficient solutions to resolve even the most complex case. An authority on these issues, he is often sought...


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