LGSEV_W4_DQ1&2 Discussion Question 1: Jimmy Madison Case: Expert Witness
Discussion Question 1: Jimmy Madison Case: Expert Witness
In this question we look at expert witnesses and the admissibility of new scientific theories. In drafting your response, be sure to research the issue of novel scientific evidence and see how the courts have dealt with such evidence.
Jimmy Madison has worked around electrical transformers for over 14 years as an electrician. He is now suffering from lung cancer and claims that it was caused because of the working environment—exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) from the transformers. Jimmy also smokes cigarettes. He sued his employer. Two expert witnesses were called to prove Jimmy’s claim. The expert witnesses relied on a study using baby mice. They found a possible association between PCB exposure and cancer. The judge however excluded the testimony.
Evaluate possible reasons for the exclusion.
How can a judge ascertain the reliability of the theories presented by any expert? On what grounds does a judge exclude or admit innovative theories and expert witnesses?
Examine the chances that a theory presented by an expert witness will be admitted. Consider that after being excluded, the evidence or theory proves to be correct through additional research. What are the consequences of such exclusion?
Discussion Question 2: Tania’s Case Against the Apartment Building Owner for Negligence
In this question we will examine the evidentiary concept of remedial measures in the context of a slip and fall case. Be sure to analyze carefully what evidence would be admissible in this negligence situation.
Tania, who is renting an apartment in Oswald Redbrick Apartments Building, is suing the owner, Oswald, for negligence. She claims that on June 14, 2005, she tripped on the linoleum installed in the apartment and severely injured her right arm. As a result, she cannot work because her arm still hurts. Tania says that despite the fact that linoleum was considered defective and dangerous for users and therefore the stores stopped selling it, the owner negligently installed it in the Redbrick Apartments anyway.
In court, Tania states that she has proof against the owner—another resident of the apartment building, Peter, who fell and injured himself on May 13, 2005. Tania also states that Oswald removed the linoleum on June 20, 2005, and put a carpet in all the apartments in the building—the proof that Oswald is liable for negligence.
Based on the above information, answer the following questions:
In your judgment, what will the possible outcome of the case be?
What chances does Tania have of winning the case?
What arguments can the owner present in his defense?
Support your discussion with case law.