Cuffari v S-B Power Tool Co.

2003 WL 22520411 (3rd Cir. 11.7/03)

Failing the Daubert test

Facts

Another American case, on appeal from a district court ruling that an expert’s report should be excluded on the test set out in the Daubert decision. The plaintiff sued for an injury he suffered whilst using a circular saw manufactured by the defendant. His expert, Mr Howarth, 

concluded that the saw was defectively made, in part due to the lack of an electric brake.

Issues

Whether the district court had correctly ruled Mr Howarth’s testimony inadmissible.

Decision

The expert report failed the Daubert test. Mr Howarth had not used reliable methodology in coming to his conclusion that the saw was defectively designed. His tests were undocumented and carried out a significant time before. He had failed to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of fitting a brake to the saw. His conclusion that there were no negative safety implications of fitting electric brakes had been far from scientific, relying chiefly on there having been no reported such implications. The order of the district court was upheld.

Commnet

The US has the Daubert test whereas we in England have the Ikarian Reefer principles.