In Bitler v. A.O. Smith Corp., et. al., Katzman, Lampert & McClune aviation lawyers represented a propane explosion victim and recovered a multi-million dollar jury verdict. Using advanced technology, the Firm’s experts determined that the explosion occurred due to copper sulfide and grease contamination on the safety valve seat of a hot water heater control.
On appeal, the defendants argued among other things, that the Plaintiff’s expert testimony should not have been admitted at trial. According to the defendants, the trial court did not adhere to its “gatekeeping” functions under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and it failed to apply the relevant precedent set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the defendants asserted that because the Plaintiffs’ experts did not test their theories, the Plaintiffs’ expert testimony should have been excluded at trial. Plaintiffs countered that the testimony assisted the jury, was properly based on skills, training and experience, and was reasonably applied to the facts of the case.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Katzman, Lampert & McClune’s position and held that the district court’s reasoning in allowing the Plaintiffs’ expert testimony at trial was consistent with both Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert. See Bitler v. A.O. Smith Corp., et.al., 400 F.3d 1227 (C.A. 10th Cir. 2004).
As a result of Katzman, Lampert & McClune’s evidentiary accomplishments, the Colorado Trial Lawyer’s Association nominated Bitler for Case of the Year.