Valve Manufacturer’s Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Granted Based on Preclusion of Plaintiff’s Expert Witness

SOUTH CAROLINA — In this mesothelioma case, the plaintiff, James Chesher, sued alleging asbestos exposure while serving as a machinist mate and commissioned officer in the Navy from 1965 to 1989. Defendant Crane had moved for and was denied summary judgment. However, Crane’s motion to preclude the plaintiff’s causation expert, Dr. Carlos Bedrossian, was granted. The plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the preclusion of his expert and Crane moved to renew its motion for summary judgment.

The parties agreed that maritime law applied. The court upheld the expert witness preclusion “because it found that under Federal Rule of Evidence 403, the probative value of the testimony is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, and misleading the jury.” The court further stated that “Bedrossian’s opinions on specific causation essentially amount to the ‘every exposure’ theory that Lindstrom rejected—a position that has been affirmed in subsequent decisions applying maritime law.” The court then granted Crane’s motion to renew its motion for summary judgment stating that because the plaintiff “has failed to put forth sufficiently specific evidence of substantial exposure, the court finds that he has failed to establish that Crane’s product was a substantial factor in causing the injury he suffered. Having failed the substantial factor test, and having no expert testimony on specific causation, Chesher has not established a prima facie case under maritime law for a products liability mesothelioma action.”

Read the full decision here.