Expert’s Asbestos-Location Map Admissible Only For Plaintiffs With Exposures Within Entire Date Range Depicted by Map Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Croix, April 24, 2018
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Defendant Hess Oil Virgin Island Corporation (HOVIC) filed a motion in limine to exclude a map prepared by the plaintiffs’ expert Martin D. Barrie, Ph.D. in this matter that consolidates the lawsuits of 123 individuals alleging expose to asbestos while working at a HOVIC operated refinery on the island of St. Croix. The map in question condensed 23 pages of data produced in discovery by HOVIC, and depicted all places that asbestos was found at the St. Croix refinery based on sample testing that occurred from 1982 to 1999. HOVIC argued that the map was unduly prejudicial, that it was a compilation of more than 20 years of data, and that it failed to show subsequent remediation efforts that occurred at the refinery during the same time period. The plaintiffs argued that the map was merely a visualization of admissible information produced by HOVIC.
The court analyzed the facts under the Virgin Islands Rules of Evidence, which parallel Federal Rule 1006 in pertinent parts. It noted that the “‘master case does not proceed to trial.’…The individual cases do.” Because each piece of evidence on which a summary relies must also be admissible independently, the court determined that the map would be unfairly prejudicial in an instance where an individual plaintiff did not work at the St. Croix refinery for the entire time period depicted in Dr. Barrie’s map. Thus, the motion was granted as to these types of plaintiffs. However, the court denied the motion as to the plaintiffs for whom the underlying evidence and its associated time periods would be applicable.