Recent Cases on Experts in Reconstruction Issues in Trucking Accidents
The following cases address the expertise of various reconstruction and the scope of accident investigator’s testimony. We often get requests about Lew Grill. There are two opinions addressing the scope of his testimony. Also, I have a box of depositions and articles by Lew Grill if you’re interested.
1. United States District Court, D. Montana. Tanner J. Parrick, individually and as Personal Representative of the estate of Jerry J. Parrick, Deceased, and on behalf of Thais D. Parrick and Maria Elliot, Plaintiff, v. Fedex Ground Package System, Inc., Bridgewater Trucking, LLC, Sergey Buslayev, and Vladimir Kochukov, Defendants. Case No. CV 09-05-M-DWM-JCL. U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96414, 2010 WL 3724429 (D. Mont. 2010).
The Plaintiff moved to preclude the Defendants’ reconstruction expert, Dave Beaufort. No party requested a pretrial Daubert hearing, instead, both Plaintiff’s and Defendants’ experts submitted affidavits. The District Court denied the Plaintiff’s motion without prejudice, finding that the existing record indicated only a disagreement between the opposing experts.
2. United States District Court, D. Connecticut. Kathleen Crockford v. Lawrence M. Spencer and Metals USA Plates and Shapes Northeast, L.P. Case No. 3:10CV813 (HBF) (2012 WL 2129356 (D. Conn. 2012).
The Defendants moved to preclude the expert testimony of the Plaintiff’s trucking expert, Lew Grill. Grill opined as to what the Defendants should have done to avoid accident. Defendants claimed that Grill lacked a foundation for his opinion, as he never reconstructed the accident, only using information from the police report. Court denied the Defendants’ motion, stating that there was no requirement for an expert to reconstruct the accident to give an opinion, when the facts relied upon are accurate.
3. Court of Appeals of Arizona, D. Mary Cameron, a single woman, individually, for her personal injury, and individually, for the benefit of the children of Martin Cameron, for the wrongful death of Martin Cameron, deceased v. Kathyrn Kay Westbrook and John Doe Westbrook; Paul Horta, Jr. and Jane Doe Horta; John Christner Trucking; Royal Express Incorporated Case No. 1 CA-CV 10-0398. 2012 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 141, 2012 WL 385633 (Ariz. App. Div. 1 2012).
The Plaintiffs disclosed commercial trucking expert, Joseph Peles, to testify in regards to accident reconstruction and whether the defendants complied with FMCSR. The Defendants moved to preclude Peles, claiming he was not qualified to testify regarding standard of care. The Trial judge granted the Defendants motion only allowing Peles to reconstruct the accident. The Appellate court later affirmed the Trial court’s ruling.
4. Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California. Amber Scull, et v. Jose Ventura Hernandez, Case Nos. B220166, B221256. Nov. 30, 2011. 2011 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9162, 2011 WL 6004288 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2011).
The Plaintiffs appealed, claiming that the Trial judge erred in precluding their trucking expert, Lew Grill. Grill opined as to what the Defendant/driver, Hernandez, should have felt and heard during the accident, challenging Hernandez’s account of what occurred. Grill had vast experience regarding the industry standards of commercial trucking, however, he was not qualified in accident reconstruction. Therefore, he was not allowed to opine about what Hernandez should have experienced during the accident. The court did not err in limiting Grill’s testimony to his area of expertise.
5. United States District Court, D. Nevada. Apostolos Hiropoulos v. JeremiahJuso, et al., Case No. 2:09CV307 JCM (RJJ). July 29, 2011. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83933, 2011 WL 3273884 (D. Nev..2011).
The Plaintiffs moved to preclude testimony of biomechanical expert, Dr. France. They claimed that he lacked a factual basis to form an opinion, because he never visited the accident scene. However, Dr. France used the event data recorder from the Plaintiff’s vehicle, as well as other information and reports, to conclude that the accident was not severe enough to cause the alleged injuries of the Plaintiff. This motion was denied by the court with regard to Federal Rule 702.
Investigating Police Officer Opinions & Diagrams
6. United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division. Teri Reagan, Individually and as personal representation of the Estate of Roger Reagan; and Maverick Transportation, LLC, v. Dunaway Timber Company; Morgan Quisenberry; John Doe Trucking; and John Doe Incorporated, Defendants/ Third Party Plaintiffs v. Barry McCoy, Third Party Defendant. Case No. 3:10CV03016. 011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126034, 2011 WL 5184218 (W.D. Ark. 2011).
The Plaintiff moved to preclude Corporal Evans from testifying on behalf of the Defendants. This case addressed the question of whether someone can be recognized as an expert in the field of accident investigation or reconstruction. The court, after considering Daubert and Rule 702, granted and denied in part the Plaintiffs’ motion. Corporal Evans had appropriate knowledge, experience, training and evidence to testify regarding the investigation of the accident. However, he could not testify in regard to his reconstruction of the accident.
If you have any cases in north Louisiana or northeast Texas that you need insight on experts, judges, lawyers or the venue, feel free to call me. NO CHARGE for initial consultation.