(Expert Opinion) Material dispute does not exist where plaintiff’s expert does not state facts to support opinion for product liability claim

(Expert Opinion) Material dispute does not exist where plaintiff’s expert does not state facts to support opinion for product liability claim.  Katya Bozzi v. Nordstrom, INC., (No. B217782 California Courts of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight July 13, 2010).

Plaintiff brought an action against defendants for personal injury.  The plaintiff appealed from the grant of a summary judgment in favor of defendants.  The facts of the case involved a plaintiff who was riding the down escalator to the first floor of defendant’s department store when the escalator stopped abruptly due to a power outage that was apparently caused by a nearby traffic accident.  The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment finding the plaintiff did not show a triable issue of fact that defendants breached any duty of care or that the escalator was defective.

In opposition to the motion of summary judgment, the plaintiff produced an expert who provided a declaration in support of its opposition.  However, the expert had not seen, ridden or inspected the escalator, relying only on his own reasoning that if an escalator stopped abruptly it must have been defectively designed or maintained.  The court found that the expert’s opinion was insufficient to create a material dispute, having not stated any facts to support his opinion.  In contrast, the defendant showed that the escalator showed it was state of the art when manufactured and had the most comprehensive maintenance available, having been inspected every 24 days.  Thus, the Appeals Court found the summary judgment was properly granted. 

Plaintiff brought an action against defendants for personal injury.  The plaintiff appealed from the grant of a summary judgment in favor of defendants.  The facts of the case involved a plaintiff who was riding the down escalator to the first floor of defendant’s department store when the escalator stopped abruptly due to a power outage that was apparently caused by a nearby traffic accident.  The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment finding the plaintiff did not show a triable issue of fact that defendants breached any duty of care or that the escalator was defective.

In opposition to the motion of summary judgment, the plaintiff produced an expert who provided a declaration in support of its opposition.  However, the expert had not seen, ridden or inspected the escalator, relying only on his own reasoning that if an escalator stopped abruptly it must have been defectively designed or maintained.  The court found that the expert’s opinion was insufficient to create a material dispute, having not stated any facts to support his opinion.  In contrast, the defendant showed that the escalator showed it was state of the art when manufactured and had the most comprehensive maintenance available, having been inspected every 24 days.  Thus, the Appeals Court found the summary judgment was properly granted.

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