Two plaintiffs lost products liability cases against Louisville Ladder.
In Bielskis v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., No 10-1194 (7th Cir. Nov. 18, 2011) the appellate court upheld the disqualification of plaintiff’s liability expert, Neil J. Mizen. Bielskis was injured while using Louisville Ladder mini-scaffold (model number SM 1404) and alleged a defect to a rolling castor on the device.
The trial judge refused to permit Mizen to testify after a Daubert challenge from the defense and granted summary judgment for the defendant. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, and said that without expert testimony, Plaintiff, who
owned the scaffold for seven years at the time of the accident, and [ ] advanced no particular evidence about its condition when it was received from the manufacturer. Thus , Bielskis has not marshaled sufficient evidence that the mini-scaffold was defective at the time it left Louisville Ladder’s control. Without evidence that the mini-scaffold was defective at the outset or that it was free in the 7-year interim period from any abnormal use, Bielskis needs more than the failure of the caster stem to prove his case. And with no expert testimony, he lacks evidence to support his product liability allegations of strict liability and negligence.
The second victory for Louisville Ladder came from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Cannioto v. Louisville Ladder, Inc., No. 11-12885 (Nov. 18, 2011). Once again, the plaintiffs’ expert, Charles E. Benedict, Ph.D, was excluded as a witness.
November 18, 2011 was a very good day for Louisville Ladder.