Trek Bicycle Lawsuit Allowed to Continue

An appeals court just diverted from an earlier order that found for <"">Trek Bicycle Corp. in a prior lawsuit, said Portfolio Media. Inc. In that case, a man brought suit against the bicycle maker after suffering injuries due to what he alleged were manufacturing defects in the bike he was riding, explained Portfolio Media.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that although the district judge correctly excluded plaintiff Jerry Lynch’s expert testimony, she incorrectly granted judgment as a matter of law in the defendant’s favor, wrote Portfolio Media.

Last year we wrote that Trek Bicycle Corporation was one of three bike makers issuing recalls over crash hazards. Trek Bicycles’ importer, Trek Bicycle Corporation, recalled about 16,000 bicycles which were manufactured by JD Components, because the recalled bicycle’s fork, which was manufactured in Taiwan, can lose alignment, causing the front wheel to turn unexpectedly and the rider to lose control of the bicycle and crash. At the time we wrote, there were four reports of misaligned forks in the recalled Trek bicycles.

Lynch claimed his shoulder was hurt due to a defect in the bicycle that caused its front fork to snap while he was riding it, wrote Portfolio Media, citing the appeal that was filed this past September following Judge Deborah Batts of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s refusal to allow expert testimony from John Weir. Judge Batts granted summary judgment in favor of Trek.

It seems that Judge Batt’s found that Weir, Lynch’s expert, had insufficient qualifications to testify that a so-called “wrinkle” in the bike’s left fork was the cause of the injury, said Portfolio Media. Weir apparently worked with the carbon composite materials that were at issue in the lawsuit; however, he admitted that his expertise is mostly in the coatings that are used in the manufacture of aircraft, explained Portfolio Media.

Lynch—on appeal—said that district court had “abused its discretion in refusing to allow” Weir’s testimony; however, the Second Circuit agreed with the lower court, saying that Weir’s theories were “speculative,” according to Portfolio Media. “Weir repeatedly declined to offer any quantitative or scientifically based testimony regarding his theory of how both forks failed,” the Second Circuit said, quoted Portfolio Media. “Instead, without performing any testing, Weir testified to how the failure ‘could have happened,’ to his untested ‘conjecture,’ and to how certain testing ‘might’ be conducted,” the Second Circuit added.

According to Lynch, he alleged that he had sufficient evidence, including his testimony regarding how the bike broke, that should have entitled him to have a trial, according to his appeal, said Portfolio Media.

The Second Circuit found that the district court was in error in its granting judgment as a matter of law in favor of Trek. “The district court should have afforded the parties a fuller opportunity to present their respective positions,” the appellate panel said. After vacation of the summary judgment, the appeals court returned the case to the district court, “which has been instructed to allow the parties to submit dispositive motions and … determine if the case is appropriate for summary judgment,” according to Portfolio Media.

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