Injury claim dismissed where victim cannot document product failure
Ron Paquin filed suit against Control Chief Corporation after he was injured by a 15-ton mandrel which he was re-locating by crane. He had no memory of the injury, but claimed that the remote controller malfunctioned, causing the mandrel to strike him. He offered the evidence of a mechanical engineer who claimed that the remote controller showed evidence of contact welds on the control pads which would have caused an unintended movement of the crane.
The manufacturer responded with testimony from its own electrical engineers, claiming that the electrical contacts did not generate enough power to cause contact welds and offering a different explanation for the discolorations identified by Paquin's expert. Since Paquin's expert testified that he didn't know how much electrical current would be required to create a contact weld, and since there were other explanations for how the mandrel could have struck Paquin, the Western District Judge considering the claim was compelled to dismiss Paquin's lawsuit.
While Paquin's attorneys argued the case was merely a battle over the credibility of experts and should be resolved by the Jury, the Court determined that Paquin's expert could not rebut the evidence that the electrical charge within the contacts was so small that it was physically impossible for them to contact weld and mis-control the mandrel. The Judge believed that this unrebutted evidence rendered the Plaintiff's expert's theory unsupportable speculation.