Expert Article Library
Speculation as to Potential Accident Causation Ruled Inadmissible
Case Name: Boss v. Nissan North America (Click here for the full text of the case)
Court: United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
Date: May 22, 2007
Expert: Automobile Experts. Gerald Rosenbluth, Richard Tessmann, Dean Jacobson, and David Leonard
Issue: Whether the testimony of the experts listed above on the potential cause of a power-steering malfunction is admissible.
Summary of case: Plaintiff was severely injured in the rollover of a Nissan Sentra. Plaintiff alleged that Nissan was negligent in the design of the Sentras power-steering system and this negligence caused the rollover.
Role of the experts: The experts planned to testify that a particle lodged in the power steering systems spool valve caused a steering malfunction. This testimony was essential to Bosss case.
Challenges to the Expert's testimony: The lower court disqualified Bosss four expert witnesses at the motion of Nissan. The reasoning behind the 4th Circuits affirmation of that decision was that the testimony was speculative and there is no physical evidence of a particle jam in the power-steering system of the car. The court reasoned further that there is no scientific/engineering community consensus to support the theory and an NHTSA study determined that particle jamming did not pose a risk to drivers. The 4th Circuit affirmed the disqualification of Bosss expert witnesses.
Summary prepared by C. Wood, Student, University of California, Hastings College of the Law