Barge construction company asks judge to remove expert testimony from case

Christina Stueve Jan. 23, 2012, 7:32am


National Maintenance and Repair, a tugboat shipyard and barge repair facility, on Tuesday requested that Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth prevent an economics expert from testifying on behalf of a man suing the company.

Shannon Blair, 41, is suing National Maintenance and Repair claiming his right arm was mangled when a large metal ball attached to a crane fell on it while he was working on a barge on the upper Mississippi River.

The company disputes Dr. Rebecca Summary's testimony in a 13-page motion to disqualify.

"Dr. Summary's calculation of lost earnings and fringe benefits lack an adequate and reliable foundation," the motion reads. "At deposition, Dr. Summary acknowledged that Plaintiff returned to work for National Maintenance on July 26, 2010. However, only her calculation of past lost wages accounts for this fact. With respect to future lost earnings and benefits, Dr. Summary inexplicably decided that Plaintiff would stop working on the first day of trial and would never work again. Such an assumption is unsupported in the evidence and is belied by reality."

She calculated Blair's lost earnings at $1.7 million.

"Even were the Court to accept Dr. Summary's figures and assumptions, her arithmetic is wrong. Using her own figures and assumptions, Dr. Summary overstates Plaintiff's alleged future lost wages by $251,700," the motion states.

"As the foregoing illustrates, Dr. Summary's opinions do not bear sufficient indicia of reliability and the bases for her opinions are simply not trustworthy."

Ruth approved Blair's withdrawal of his motion to dismiss his case against the company on Dec. 23.

The complaint says the barge, named BB-1, was an uninspected vessel.

As a result of his injuries, Blair expects to experience pain and mental suffering in the future, as well as incur future medical expenses.

Todd Powers, Megan Ahrens and Jeffrey Ezra are the attorneys for the defendant.

Roy Dripps represents the plaintiff.

On Nov. 4, Ruth had ordered a trial to begin Jan. 23.

Madison County Case number:10-L-52.

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