Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Expert testimony used in products liability cases

A products liability lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania that concerns a framing nailer. A man using the device claimed that a pneumatic injection of high-pressured gas was forced under his right thumbnail. It was further alleged that no instructions or warnings were included with the device that would have warned users that such a possibility existed.

There was a certain amount of controversy in this matter in that the manufacturer of the nailer objected to the use of certain expert testimony in this matter. The expert apparently will testify that an alternate design could have eliminated the risks of such injuries occurring. The judge denied the manufacturer's motion to have the testimony excluded by stating that the expert's testimony was based upon a "reliable process."

The expert in question apparently was able to replicate the release of the gas as was alleged by the individual reportedly injury by the nailer. Though he apparently could not testify with specificity where the gas leak took place, his experience as an engineer and information supplied by organizations such as OSHA did make such findings at least relevant to the inquiry as to what happened.

When products liability attorneys represent injured clients, they often face objections from manufacturers regarding testimony and evidence that is to be introduced. Manufacturers have the advantage of designing the product while experts retained by plaintiffs' attorneys need to learn about the product from scratch.

For this reason, attorneys representing injured victims in products liability cases need to have a thorough understanding of how products are designed and manufactured, and need to be able to communicate effectively with engineers and other experts regarding these matters.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Judge allows expert witness testimony to go forward in products liability case," by Jon Campisi, April 17, 2013

  • Please visit our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lawyers' website for products liability information.

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