§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).

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

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The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

To order a copy of the book, visit www.dayontortsbook.com. John also blogs regularly on key issues for tort lawyers. To subscribe to the Day on Torts blog, visit www.dayontorts.com.

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