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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
February 1 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 3 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 10 - Newsblog #33
In the News: $7.8 Million Construction Injury Settlment Highlights Rash of New Contruction Accidents
May 17 - Newsblog #34
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #35
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #36
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #37
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #38
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #40
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #41
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #44
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
September 25 - Newsblog #45
Yes, Sex Trafficking is Happening in Indiana
October 30 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Product Liability Cases in 2019
November 13 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Arbitration Clauses Allowed in Indiana Nursing Home Contracts
November 27 - Newsblog #48
In the News: $101 Million Birth Injury Settlement Awarded
December 4 - Newsblog #49
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #50
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #51
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #52
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 29 - Newsblog #53
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
February 19 - Newsblog #54
Indiana Authorities Buy More Time to Prosecute Child Abusers
February 26 - Newsblog #55
In the News: Teen Brain-injured at Birth Awarded $15.1 Million
March 4 - Newsblog #56
In the News: Did Connecticut School Officials Turn a Deaf Ear to Sexual or Physical Abuse?
March 18 - Newsblog #57
In the News: Facility Held to Blame for Medical Treatment Delivered in a Careless and Negligent Manner
April 1 - Newsblog #58
In the News: Emergency Measures Instituted in Indiana’s Judicial System
April 8 - Newsblog #59
In the News: Medical Malpractice Limits Challenged in California
April 15 - Newsblog #60
In the News: Indiana Supreme Court Issues Five Orders for Legal Proceedings
May 6 - Newsblog #61
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years
May 13 - Newsblog #62
In the News: Physician Not Negligent in Choosing One Treatment over Another
June 3 - Newsblog #63
In the News: Indiana Undercounting Covid-19 Deaths?
June 17 - Newsblog #64
In the News: Ruling Reverse on Police Shooting – New News, Old Story?
July 8 - Newsblog #65
In the News: What is This Thing Called Qualified Immunity?
July 15 - Newsblog #66
In the News: Sooner or Later for Virus-delayed Jury Trials
July 29 - Newsblog #67
In the News: Truck Driver Sentenced, Another Charged in Fatal Crashes
August 12 - Newsblog #68
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
August 26 - Newsblog #69
In the News: $4.9m Auto Accident Settlement Teaches Many Lessons
September 2 - Newsblog #70
In the News: Negligence Unmasked at Pennsyvania Trial
September 9 - Newsblog #71
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
September 27 - Newsblog #72
In the News: Heart Rhythm Drug Poisoned Patient’s Lungs
October 14 - Newsblog #73
In the News: Prisoner Vs. Prison – a Tale of Two Medical Negligence Lawsuits
October 28 - Newsblog #74
In the News: Richard Hailey Serves As Co-counsel in Tragic Texas Medical Malpractice Case
November 4 - Newsblog #75
In the News: Mesothelioma Trials Move Ahead, Pandemic Notwithstanding
November 4 - Newsblog #76
In the News: Richard Hailey Serves As Co-counsel in Tragic Medical Malpractice Case
November 4 - Newsblog #77
In the News: Mesothelioma Trials Move Ahead, Pandemic Notwithstanding
November 18 - Newsblog #78
In the News: Two-year-old Shoots Mom in Tragic Reminder of the Need for Safe Storage of Guns
December 30 - Newsblog #79
In the News: when ‘ghost Guns’ Cause Real Deaths
January 13 - Newsblog #80
In the News: when Police Dogs Cause Personal Injury to the Innocent
January 27 - Newsblog #81
In the News: Old List of Six Proves Very Relevant Today
February 24 - Newsblog #82
In the News: Indiana Nursing Homes Shielded from Covid-19 Liability Suits 

March 10 - Newsblog #83
In the News: Online Hunters out to Halt Child Abuse
March 17 - Newsblog #84
In the News: Toxic Talc Still a Problem
April 14 - Newsblog #85
In the News: Va Hospital Wrongful Death Verdict Increased After-the-fact
April 14 - Newsblog #86
Think You Don’t Need a Doctor After Being Hit by a Car? Think Again!
May 5 - Newsblog #87
In the News: Historic Police Reform and Training Bill Signed into Law
June 2 - Newsblog #88
In the News: Shaquille Kelly Shot by Police in Ft. Wayne
June 9 - Newsblog #89
In the News: Cement Plant to Pay $700k for Spewing Pollutants
June 16 - Newsblog #90
In the News: Estate of Man Killed by Police Sues Indianapolis
July 7 - Newsblog #91
In the News: Vehicular Homicide Result of Impairment and Speed
July 28 - Newsblog #92
In the News: Two Recent Drownings Call Attention to Dangers 

July 28 - Newsblog #93
Driving Phobia Ptsd Can Be Grounds for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
August 4 - Newsblog #94
In the News – Sexual Abuse Claim Ruled Outdated
August 18 - Newsblog #95
In the News – New Study Questions Pollution Levels in Franklin, Indiana
September 1 - Newsblog #96
In the News – Two Corporations Punished for Failure to Warn
September 8 - Newsblog #97
In the News – Tesla Autopilot Investigation Highlights Product Liability Issues
October 27 - Newsblog #98
In the News – Irish Hospital Apologizes to Six Year Old for Medical Injury
November 3 - Newsblog #99
In the News – Nursing Homes Fail to Report Covid-19 Deaths to Osha
November 11 - Newsblog #100
In the News: Bicycle Injuries and Fatalities Hit Home in Indiana
December 15 - Newsblog #101
In the News: Children Killed by Dui – the Wrongest of Wrongful Deaths
December 22 - Newsblog #102
In the News: Parents of Girl Who Drowned Sue City of Princeton
January 5 - Newsblog #103
In the News: 50 Indiana Children Dead of Neglect and Abuse in 2020
January 19 - Newsblog #104
Did Church Protect Pastor, Not Children?
February 16 - Newsblog #105
In the News: $10 Million Verdict in Rv/pedestrian Accident
March 30 - Newsblog #106
In the News: Carmel Priest Suspended for Alleged Child Abuse
April 20 - Newsblog #107
In the News: the Effects of Child Abuse – Way Beyond Blue Water or Pinwheels

Products Liability Newsletter

Standards for Expert Testimony

Authorities suggest that “lay” witnesses may testify to conclusions drawn from their own observations, while an “expert” expresses an opinion based on special knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. The testimony of a civil engineer in a 1782 English case may be the first recorded use of expert testimony.

In many lawsuits, the testimony of an “expert” witness is essential for a party to establish their case. Such testimony may be required on numerous issues in a lawsuit, including, for example:

  • How and why the product in a products’ liability case was defective.
  • Whether the actions of the defendant actually caused the injury to the plaintiff, e.g., did exposure to the asbestos really cause the plaintiff’s lung cancer.
  • The standard of care to which a defendant is held in a negligence case, and whether the defendant’s conduct failed to meet this standard.
  • Calculation of damages, e.g., if an injury creates a permanent disability, the amount of award that will compensate for future damages and possible medical procedures and care.

Designating Experts

Experts must usually be qualified by virtue of their education, training, experience, and/or special knowledge. Although procedures vary among states and the federal courts, in most courts, a party planning to call an expert to testify at trial must generally give appropriate notice to all other parties of each expert’s identity and qualifications, and the issues on which the expert will render an opinion. This usually must be done through a formal procedure outlined in applicable state or federal laws and rules of procedure. As a rule, the other parties may then take the expert’s deposition (i.e. out-of-court sworn testimony) and/or hire their own experts to challenge the expert’s conclusions and opinions. Failure, or even delay in designating an expert or providing the required information regarding one’s expert may result in that expert’s testimony not being allowed at trial.

Allowance of Expert Testimony by the Court – The Frye Case

In a 1923 criminal case, Frye v. U.S., the District of Columbia court of appeals considered whether to allow expert testimony regarding the results of a polygraph (lie detector) test. The lower court would not allow the testimony. The court of appeals stated the rule that testimony of experts may be admissible regarding issues where inexperienced persons will not likely be able to form a correct judgment, because it is so related to science, etc., that previous experience or study is necessary. In order to be admissible, however, such testimony must be deduced from a “well-recognized scientific principles or discovery,” that have gained “general acceptance.” The court concluded that polygraph tests had not yet attained that status.

The court admitted that it may be hard to tell exactly when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the line from experimental to well-established. Evaluating the reliability of a test or expert testimony is thus, in a sense, placed upon the scientific community. The Frye test has been used by many courts ever since; if a proposed expert’s testimony is based on “generally accepted” principles, it may be admitted.

The Daubert Case and Admissibility of Expert Testimony

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which changed the way many courts decide on the admissibility of expert testimony. The heart of the case was whether medication administered to a pregnant mother caused birth defects in her children. The mother offered expert testimony to establish the connection, but the lower court would not allow such testimony, because it felt the testimony did not meet the Frye general acceptance criteria. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower court, but applied different reasoning.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Frye test and stated a new test applicable to the type of scientific evidence at issue in Daubert. The Court stated that inquiry into whether such expert testimony is admissible and reliable must be “flexible,” but focused on the “principles and methodology employed by the expert, not just the conclusions.” Listed factors to be considered included:

  • Whether the theory or technique can and has been tested, and whether there were control standards maintained during the testing, to promote accuracy.
  • Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication.
  • The statistical potential for errors in the methodology.
  • Whether there is widespread acceptance of it in the relevant scientific community.

These factors were later incorporated into Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. In a subsequent case in the 1990’s, the U.S. Supreme Court held that courts should also scrutinize the expert’s reasoning process, as well as methodology. Finally, in 1999 the Court extended the Daubert reliability test to all expert testimony, not just scientific testimony.

Conclusions

It is impossible to generalize about the admissibility of expert testimony in U.S. courts. Federal courts are bound by Daubert and its two related decisions. Since federal rules were involved in Daubert, the decision is not binding on state courts. Some states have adopted the Daubert test, others have adopted it only in part, some states continue to use the Frye test, and another set of states have fashioned their own tests for admissibility.

Especially in states that have accepted Daubert, parties may file a pretrial motion with the court to exclude expert testimony because it does not meet the applicable test for admissibility. Depending on the applicable test, the court may scrutinize the expert’s methodology and reasoning, whether it is widely accepted in the scientific community, and/or other factors. The court will then determine whether the expert will be allowed to testify at trial.

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