Brief Fact Summary. A tire on a vehicle driven by the Patrick Carmichael (“Mr. Carmichael”) blew out and caused an accident killing one passenger and injuring others. The Respondents, the survivors and the decedent’s representative (the “Respondents”), sued the Petitioners, the tire maker and distributor, (the “Petitioners”), claiming that the tire was defective.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal Rules of Evidence (“F.R.E.”) Rule 702 gives a district judge discretion to determine reliability of evidence in regards the circumstances and facts of a particular case.
Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.
An expert's opinion must have a reliable basis in the knowledge and experience of his discipline.
Facts. The Respondents sued the Petitioners alleging that a tire defect caused the blowout which led to an accident killing one and injuring others. A significant portion of the case rested on the depositions of a tire failure analyst, Dennis Carlson, Jr. (“Mr. Carlson”). Mr. Carlson intended to testify that in his expert opinion a defect in the tire’s manufacture or design caused the blow out. His opinion was based on a visual and tactile inspection of the tire, and upon a theory that this sort of tire failure was the result of a defect, and not tire abuse. The Petitioners moved to exclude Mr. Carlson’s testimony on the ground that his methodology failed to satisfy F.R.E. Rule 702, which states: “If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact.