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Trial Court Should Hold Hearing To Assess Expert Evidence Before Dismissal
Description Appeals court held that under the Daubert standard, while a trial court may exclude expert testimony as incompetent, when the outcome of a trial rests on that issue, the court must hold a hearing to address the competence of the evidence, rather than simply exclude it and end the proceedings.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Evidence; Daubert standard
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Padillas was injured while working at a poultry processing plant when he was servicing a machine made by Stork. Padillas sued Stork for strict products liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and failure to warn. Stork moved for summary judgment, arguing that the report of Padillas' expert, Lambert, did not meet the Supreme Court standard set in the Daubert case. The district court excluded the Lambert report and then dismissed the case. Padillas appealed.
Decision Reversed. The district court should have held a hearing to assess the admissibility of the expert testimony rather than simply dismiss the report, since doing so ended the case. "Whether to hold [a hearing] rests in the sound discretion of the district court. But when the ruling on admissibility turns on factual issues ... at least in the summary judgment context, failure to hold such a hearing may be an abuse of discretion. We hold that in this case, it was."
Citation Padillas v. Stork-Gamco, Inc., 186 F.3d 412 (3rd Cir., 1999)

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