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Comments on Web Pages Not Sufficiently Reliable For Cross-Examination

In a product liability action where the Defendant's product is alleged to have caused a fire, Defendant's expert testifed that there were no other reports of fire involving the Defendant's product at issue.  To impeach the expert's statement, Plaintiffs sought to introduce customer comments from websites Defendant's products caused fires.  Plaintiffs identified 5 such comments from websites such as amazon.com, pricegrabber.com and AVForums.com.  Because the website comments did not involve the exact model number of the product at issue, the circumstances of the alleged fires were not described in detail, and the comments were anonymous, the court precluded the use of these website posts during cross-examination.  The court noted that " . . . there is no reason to believe that, in deciding whether a particular product started a fire, any responsible investigator would rely on a handful of anonymous on-line complaints about other products made by the same manufacturer, so the postings have little if any probative value . . . "

MMG Insurance Co. v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc., 2013 WL 2444033 (D.NH 2013)

© Copyright 2022 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved National Law Review, Volume III, Number 275
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About this Author

Karrie Clinkinbeard, Fire, Electrical, Liability, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale
Partner

Karrie Clinkinbeard is a member of the firm’s Fire and Electrical Liability practice group. She represents utility companies, businesses, product manufacturers and fireworks companies, among others, in matters involving fires, explosions, electrocution, chemical release, product failure and carbon monoxide poisoning. As one of an elite group of attorneys accredited as a Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), certified by the National Association of Fire Investigators, Karrie stays on the cutting edge of new developments in fire science. This CFEI certification is...

816-472-3175
Lynn Hursh, Trial, Products, Fire Electric, Liability, Attorney, Armstrong
Partner

Lynn Hursh serves as lead trial counsel in the defense of product manufacturers, service providers and energy suppliers in the gas and power industries. These matter primarily involve fires, explosions and toxic releases. Involved from the very beginning of an event, Lynn strategically addresses the unexpected and unique challenges posed by catastrophic events. He is knowledgeable in formalized fire and explosion investigation procedures, the requirements for the admissibility of expert testimony, and evidence spoliation prevention and accident scene preservation.

816-472-3106
Gerald A. King, Explosion, fire, Electrocution litigation, attorney, Armstrong
Partner

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 after as...

816-472-3126
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