Baugh v. Cuprum S.A. de C.V.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Expert Witness
Case Number: 
No. 16-1106
Decision Date: 
January 11, 2017
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.

In action alleging that ladder manufactured by defendant had defect in its design that caused plaintiff to incur severe injuries after falling off said ladder, Dist. Ct. did not err in allowing two of plaintiff’s experts to testify regarding alternative to ladder’s design and as to causal link between plaintiff’s injuries and defect in ladder. Jury could properly believe expert’s testimony that design featuring thicker ladder legs and longer gusset would have prevented plaintiff’s accident, where expert based opinion on “centuries-old” mathematical principles that defendant’s expert conceded could be used to analyze stress in ladder. Fact that calculations of plaintiff’s expert were not accompanied by live testing of exemplar ladder was irrelevant. Also, plaintiff’s second expert could properly testify on causation issue, even though tests performed by said expert were not performed in manner mandated by ANSI, where defendant had failed to show that alleged deviations from ANSI requirements rendered expert’s opinion unreliable. Also, defendant was not entitled to judgment as matter of law, since: (1) defendant failed to convince jury that its expert relied on superior methodology in finding that ladder possessed requisite structural strength to support plaintiff’s weight; and (2) plaintiff’s experts provided adequate explanation as to why ladder could fail when used as instructed.