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Krik v. Crane Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 21, 2014

CHARLES KRIK, Plaintiff,

For Charles Krik, Plaintiff: Michael Peter Cascino, LEAD ATTORNEY, Robert George McCoy, Cascino Vaughan Law Offices, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

For Crane Co., Defendant: Stephen K. Milott, LEAD ATTORNEY, Catherine Lynn Carlson, Gunty and McCarthy, Chicago, IL; David Fusco, PRO HAC VICE, K& l Gates, Pittsburgh, PA; James Paul Kasper, Gunty & McCarthy Law Offices, Chicago, IL.

For ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, Defendant: Howard Patrick Morris, LEAD ATTORNEY, David Francis Fanning, Johnson & Bell, Ltd., Chicago, IL; Jeffrey Alan Ryva, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kimberly A. Sarff, Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP, Peoria, IL.

For Owens-Illinois Inc., Defendant: Matthew J. Fischer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Brian O'Connor Watson, Edward M Casmere, Schiff Hardin LLP, Chicago, IL; Peter A Moir, PRO HAC VICE, Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser, Dallas, TX.

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John Z. Lee, United States District Judge.

In this asbestos personal injury case, Defendants Crane Co. (" Crane" ), ExxonMobil Oil Corporation (" Mobil" ), and Owens-Illinois, Inc.[1] (" Owens" ) have variously moved the Court to bar Plaintiff Charles Krik (" Krik" ) from calling certain expert witnesses at trial. Before the Court for decision are multiple motions to preclude the testimony of Dr. Barry Castleman (" Castleman" ) (Dkt. 63, 64, 77) and to bar evidence and testimony of certain videotaped experiments conducted by Dr. William Longo (" Dr. Longo" ) and his company, Materials Analytical Services (" MAS" ). (Dkt. 65, 77, 158.) Krik offers Dr. Castleman to testify regarding what he terms the historical health risks associated with asbestos exposure. Krik also wishes to tender the Longo/MAS videotaped experiments to demonstrate the potential pathways of exposure to asbestos fibers. The Court, applying the guiding principles of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 (" Rule 702" ) and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993), grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motions.

Legal Standard

The admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Rule 702 and the Supreme Court's seminal cases of Daubert, 509 U.S. at 590, and Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 147, 119 S.Ct. 1167, 143 L.Ed.2d 238 (1999). Rule 702 expressly allows the admission of testimony by an " expert" with the requisite " knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education" to help the trier of fact " understand the evidence or determine a

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fact in issue." Fed.R.Evid. 702. Experts are only permitted to testify, however, when their testimony is " (1) based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case." Id.

Daubert requires the district court to act as the evidentiary gatekeeper, ensuring that Rule 702's requirements of reliability and relevance are satisfied before allowing the finder of fact to hear the testimony of a proffered expert. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589; see also Kumho Tire 526 U.S. at 147-49; Lapsley v. Xtek, Inc., 689 F.3d 802, 805 (7th Cir. 2012). District courts have broad discretion in determining the admissibility of expert testimony. See Gen. Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 142, 118 S.Ct. 512, 139 L.Ed.2d 508 (1997); Lapsley, 689 F.3d at 810 (" we 'give the district court wide latitude in performing its gate-keeping function and determining both how to measure the reliability of expert testimony and whether the testimony itself is reliable'" ) (quoting Bielskis v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., 663 F.3d 887, 894 (7th Cir. 2011)).

" The purpose of the Daubert inquiry is to scrutinize the proposed expert witness testimony to determine if it has " 'the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field' so as to be deemed reliable enough to present to a jury." Lapsley, 689 F.3d at 805 (quoting Kumho Tire Co., 526 U.S. at 152). Before admitting expert testimony, district courts employ a three-part analysis: (1) the expert must be qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education; (2) the expert's reasoning or methodology underlying his testimony must be scientifically reliable; and (3) the expert's testimony must assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or to determine a factual issue. Bielskis, 663 F.3d at 893-94. The district court may apply these factors with flexibility given the different forms of expert testimony that it may be asked to consider; the relevant factors, therefore, may " be adjusted to fit the facts of the particular case at issue." U.S. v. Brumley, 217 F.3d 905, 911 (7th Cir. 2000) (citing Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 149-50)). Finally, the proponent of the expert bears the burden of demonstrating that the expert's testimony would satisfy the Daubert standard by a preponderance of the evidence. Lewis v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., 561 F.3d 698, 705 (7th Cir. 2009).


I. Dr. Castleman

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