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Nelson v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20505
Nos. No. 99-6618, 243 F.3d 244/(6th Cir., 03/09/2001)

The court affirms a district court decision excluding the testimony of individuals' two expert witnesses in a suit alleging that polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination from a natural gas pumping station injured the individuals. The court first holds that under Fed. R. Evid. 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc, 509 U.S. 579, 23 ELR 20979 (1993), the district court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded the expert testimony. The district court properly considered the lack of peer review and publication of one expert's study because such a factor was relevant to whether that expert's causation theory was based on good science. The court further holds that the district court properly concluded that flaws in the methodology used by one expert failed to show that PCB exposure, and not other factors that have similar symptoms, caused the individuals' injuries. The record is replete with evidence of other factors or agents that could have caused the injuries, but the expert failed to examine if any of these factors caused the individuals' injuries. Therefore, his conclusion that PCB exposure caused the injuries has no factual basis. Likewise, the court holds that the second expert's conclusion that PCB exposure caused the injuries was not based on scientific knowledge. The expert had no knowledge of the individuals' PCB exposure, and he failed to account for other factors that may have caused the injuries. The court also holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion by deciding the case without an evidentiary hearing and by failing to give the individuals an opportunity to cure the deficiencies in their expert testimony.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Gordon W. Jenkins
Jenkins Law Office
2595 Channing Way, Idaho Falls ID 83405

Counsel for Defendants
William H. Farmer
Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis
Nashville City Center
511 Union St., Ste. 2100, Nashville TN 37219
(615) 244-6380

Guy, J. Before Norris and Siler, JJ.