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Rudd v. General Motors Corp.

United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
127 F. Supp. 1330 (2001)


Facts

Douglas Rudd (plaintiff) owned a pickup truck manufactured by General Motors Corporation (GM) (defendant). Rudd was working on the truck when a fan blade broke loose and struck him, causing him injury. Rudd sued GM. At trial, Rudd presented the expert testimony of Harry Edmondson, a mechanical engineer. Edmondson testified that although he could not determine a specific defect in the fan, he could circumstantially rule out all other causes of the fan’s malfunction. Specifically, Edmondson testified that at the time of the incident, Rudd was performing maintenance on the truck in a proper fashion in accordance with the GM owner’s manual, and that the fan blade was not bent or otherwise damaged before the incident. Edmondson relied on his experience and on two failure analyses that contained a case study on fan-fatigue fracture. As a result of the foregoing, Edmondson testified that the fan must have been defective. GM filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Edmondson’s testimony was not sufficiently reliable and was thus inadmissible.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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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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