Fifth Circuit Says Warnings Expert Qualified In Failure-To-Warn Claim and that Exact Match of Qualifications Unnecessary

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Fifth Circuit Says Warnings Expert Qualified In Failure-To-Warn Claim and that Exact Match of Qualifications Unnecessary

A crane accident in Mississippi left an operator physically and mentally incapacitated. His wife sued the crane manufacturer under Mississippi’s products liability statute. After a lengthy trial, a jury found that the manufacturer failed to warn crane operators that if the crane tips over, large weights stacked on the rear of the crane can slide forward and strike the operator’s cab.

Manufacturer argued that it deserved a new trial because the district court improperly qualified Plaintiff’s engineer as an expert. The district court denied Manufacturer’s motions, and it appealed.

Plaintiff proffered an expert in mechanical engineering, human factors, and warnings. Manufacturer claimed that the district court abused its discretion by finding this witness qualified to testify as a warnings expert.

Fifth Circuit Judge Don R. Willett wrote that given the district court’s “broad discretion,” the Court “will not find error unless the ruling is manifestly erroneous.”

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