Civil Procedure Keyed to Spencer
Weisgram v. Marley Co.
On December 30, 1993, Bonnie Weisgram’s home caught fire. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found Bonnie dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. Her son, Chad Weisgram (Plaintiff), brought a products liability suit against the manufacturer of the heated baseboards in Bonnie’s house, Marley Co. (Defendant), alleging that a defect in the electric baseboards caused the fire that killed Bonnie. At trial, Plaintiff presented evidence from three experts, who testified that the heater contained a defect that caused the heater to overheat and catch fire. Defendant objected to this testimony, arguing that it was unreliable and therefore inadmissible under F.R.E. 702 and the standard set forth by the Court inDaubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579(1993). The trial court overruled the objection and denied both of Defendant’s motions for a judgment as a matter of law under F.R.C.P. 50. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff, and Defendant appealed. The court of appeals reversed, finding that Plaintiff’s experts’ testimony was inadmissible because it was speculative and not scientifically sound, and without that testimony Plaintiff had not presented enough evidence to sustain the jury verdict. Plaintiff appealed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
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