When Your Expert is a Star Wars Fan

Experts can get creative when stating their opinions.

R2D2_ExpertIn a products liability case over injuries sustained while wearing a snow sports helmet, the Defense expert demonstrated his Star Wars knowledge. The Defense expert explained their were no feasible alternatives in designing a helmet that would have prevented the Plaintiffs injuries:

[Such a helmet would be] made out of depleted uranium and weighs more than [the wearer] can move. Therefore, he can’t do anything while wearing the helmet. Therefore he won’t be injured. . . .

. . . [Y]ou could write a helmet standard that requires the helmet to cover from your shoulders to the top of your head and you look like Darth Vader and it weighs 6 pounds and no one would ever wear it. So you haven’t accomplished anything when it comes to protecting the public because it’s beyond the scope of what people are willing to wear.

Trust Dep’t of First Nat’l Bank of Santa Fe v. Burton Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130534, at *11 (D. Colo. Sept. 11, 2013) (Tr. Vol. V at 49.).

The expert’s opinion sounded more like Dark Helmet than Darth Vader, but the point was made: it would be big and heavy.

The Court, best read in a Governor Tarkin voice, stated the following in footnote 5:

In a less florid vein, Dr. Halstead opined that a helmet with four inches of padding — as opposed to the 1 to 1.5 inches typical of snowsport helmets — might have prevented Mr. Melendy’s injuries, but that the mass and bulk of such a design likely would negatively impact other important aspects of the helmet’s utility and performance, making it unlikely that anyone would purchase or wear a helmet thus designed.

Trust Dep’t of First Nat’l Bank of Santa Fe, at *11-12.

 

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.