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Stone Secures Dismissal of Matter for Logistics Client

August 5, 2020

Patricia Stone (Partner-Milwaukee) secured a dismissal through a summary judgment motion on behalf of a logistics client. The matter involved an employee who loaded a trailer from which a pallet of goods subsequently fell when the trailer was opened at the customer’s facility, severely injuring the plaintiff. The plaintiff failed to name an expert to opine on the standard of care in the loading of large trailers. When responding to the summary judgment motion on this issue, plaintiff claimed that he could provide such an expert opinion. In concluding that (i) res ipsa loquitur did not apply given the client did not have the requisite control once the trailer left its facility, and (ii) the plaintiff could only establish the standard of care through an expert, the court permitted the plaintiff to provide a report and subsequently conducted a Daubert Hearing to discern whether plaintiff had the requisite education, knowledge, and experience. In the course of the Daubert Hearing, it was learned that plaintiff’s counsel, rather than the plaintiff, drafted the provided “expert” report. Further, plaintiff conceded he had not conducted an analysis of the load and, indeed, had no knowledge of the securement mechanisms that would properly be used. The Court therefore rejected plaintiff offering testimony as an expert, concluded that without such testimony plaintiff could not establish his burden of proof, and dismissed the case with prejudice against the client.

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