§63.4 Causation in Products Liability Cases
The Case : Mohr v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 2008 WL 4613584 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 14, 2008).
The Basic Facts: Plaintiffs tried products claim against manufacturer of mini-van. One issue on appeal was the adequacy of plaintiff's proof on what caused the plaintiff's seat belt to release.
The Bottom Line:
- "DCC contends that, because the Plaintiff's experts declined to give an opinion as to what caused Ms. Heathscott's belt to release, the finding of liability on the part of DCC concerning Ms. Heathscott's death should be reversed. We disagree. While expert testimony may be required to prove causation in 'technically complex' cases, see, e.g., Fulton v. Pfizer Hospital Prods. Group, Inc., 872 S.W.2d 908 (Tenn. Ct. App.1993), the issue of causation is ultimately one for the jury to determine, and 'this Court has noted that a jury may infer a causal connection through the use of circumstantial evidence, expert testimony or both.' Hamblen v. Davidson, 50 S.W.3d 433, 440 (Tenn. Ct. App.2000)." 2008 WL 4613584 at *7.
Recent Cases: Long v. Quad Power Products, LLC, No. E2014-02708-COA-R3-CV, 2015 WL 1306872 (Tenn. Ct. App. March 20, 2015) (where plaintiff was injured at work, summary judgment for distributor of ball valve affirmed where ball valve was not component part of testing panel that actually broke and injured plaintiff, and ball valve had previously been removed by employees but then put into testing panel used by plaintiff in violation of employer’s safety policies).