After oil spill, majority rules family doctor can testify that relentless vomiting caused avulsion of gastric artery
Chance Lowery sued Enbridge Energy Limited, after its neglected pipeline ruptured in the Kalamazoo River, creating one of continental North America's worst environmental oil spill disasters. Lowery, who lived 250 feet from the river, claimed that he suffered several days of migraine headaches and uninterrupted vomiting, ultimately leading to a diagnosis of a ruptured gastric artery.
The defendants asked the Calhoun County judge to dismiss Lowery's claim, arguing that his family doctor's testimony relating the ruptured artery to unrelenting vomiting was too speculative and tentative. The judge dismissed Lowery's claim and Lowery appealed. Two Court of Appeals judges reversed, holding that the doctor was qualified to draw a causal connection between the events and that it was for jurors to decide what weight to give his testimony. Judge Kathleen Jansen dissented and would have ruled that only a specialist in toxic medicine or arterial surgery would be qualified to draw the causal connection.