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Polston v. Boomershine Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
952 F.2d 1304 (11th Cir. 1992)


Facts

Linda Polston (plaintiff) was driving her car, which was manufactured by General Motors Corporation (GMC) (defendant), when she got into an accident. Polston suffered serious injuries as a result. Polston brought suit against GMC, alleging defective design. Polston claimed that she had suffered enhanced injuries due to her car’s lack of crashworthiness. At trial, Polston called Murray Burnstine to testify as an expert witness. Burnstine was a mechanical engineer who worked for Harvard Medical School’s legal-medicine department. Burnstine had significant experience with car accidents generally, as well as how a car’s lack of crashworthiness caused injuries specifically. Burnstine did not have any medical training. The district court permitted Burnstine to testify that Polston’s car was not crashworthy. However, the district court did not allow Burnstine to testify, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that this lack of crashworthiness had enhanced Polston’s injuries. GMC moved for a directed verdict. The district court granted the motion, and Polston appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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