Category Archives: Expert Testimony

New Hampshire District Court Permits Parties’ Experts to Testify in Case Involving Allegation that a Recalled Grill Caused a Fire

The District Court for the District of New Hampshire recently denied motions to exclude the testimony of both the plaintiff homeowner and defendant grill manufacturer’s experts regarding the origin and cause of a fire. In Pukt v. Nexgrill Industries, Inc. (2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 54108), the homeowner’s son cooked on a 7-year-old “Charmglow” grill and, as soon as he was through, the grill caught fire and subsequently ignited the deck it was situated on and adjoining house causing extensive damage. The Consumer Product Safety Commission…

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District Court Allows Testimony Despite Experts’ Failure to Adhere to NFPA921

The Eastern District of Washington recently denied a defendant manufacturer’s attempt to exclude the testimony of two experts regarding fire origin and cause. In case No. 13-CV-0328-TOR, an insurer sued the defendant manufacturer alleging that inspections of the fire scene and evidence confirmed that a printer caused a residential fire. The defendants’ experts disagreed and attributed the cause of the fire to a failure in the home’s lighting system. In support of their opinions, the plaintiff’s experts cited a 2011 article suggesting that printers are…

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It’s the Expertise, Not the Title

In a recent case, an Ohio resident’s house burned down after she parked her vehicle in an attached garage. The plaintiff filed suit against BMW alleging that a design defect in the vehicle caused the fire. In support, the plaintiff proffered the expert testimony of a mechanic who opined that the vehicle’s design allowed for the buildup of heat between its stiffener plate and exhaust system, the subsequent ignition of adjacent leaves and the fire. The plaintiff further supported its position by alleging that the…

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District Court Allows Expert’s Testimony in Fire Case Despite His Lack of Testing and a Definitive Theory

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently addressed the reliability of an expert’s opinion regarding whether an exterior lighting device caused a fire and subsequent damage to the plaintiff’s home. In the subject case (Case No. 12-3568), the plaintiff filed suit against the manufacturer of the lighting device and one of its component parts alleging that a manufacturing defect in the device caused the fire. In support, the plaintiff proffered the testimony of an engineering expert who opined the fire was caused by one of three…

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Ohio Appellate Court Refuses to Extinguish Proximate Causation Opinion

An Ohio Appellate Court recently evaluated the ability of experts to determine the proximate cause of damages resulting from the failure of a fire detection system to timely detect a fire. In the subject case (Case No. L-12-1358), the plaintiff’s car dealership was destroyed by a fire. Although the defendant’s detection system alerted authorities of the fire, the plaintiff filed suit alleging that the system was negligently installed resulting in delayed detection and increased damages to the structure. In support of its position, the plaintiff…

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Fire Investigators’ Product Defect Opinion Stifled by Federal Court

The United States District Court for the District of Kansas recently addressed the qualifications of a fire investigator to offer testimony concerning the existence of a causal defect in a combine. In the subject case (Case No. 14-1183-JTM), a fire destroyed a John Deere S670 manufactured by the defendant and insured by plaintiff. The plaintiff filed suit alleging that the combine contained a defect that caused the fire. In support of its theory, the plaintiff proffered the expert testimony of a certified fire and explosion…

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