Fifth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment After Experts Speculate Regarding Specific Causation United States Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit, November 5, 2019

The plaintiff, Robert Schindler, alleged that his mesothelioma was caused in part by his work for the defendant, Dravo Basic Materials Co., aboard a dredge vessel called the Avocet that collected clam shells from the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. The plaintiff submitted expert reports from Dr. Robert Harrison and Dr. David Tarin that testified to both general and specific causation. The district court granted Dravo’s Daubert motions and excluded both experts’ specific causation testimony as not “based on sufficient facts or data,” and granted Dravo’s summary judgment motion. Neither expert had reviewed depositions from the case and had not seen that the plaintiff had admitted to not having a specific recollection of seeing insulation on the Avocet. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court acted within its discretion in concluding that “significant assumption(s)” rendered the experts’ testimony unreliable.

Read the case decision here.

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