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Dixon v. Home Depot U.S.A.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

June 10, 2015

DANIEL L. DIXON
v.
HOME DEPOT U.S.A, ET AL.

KAREN L. HAYES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

RULING

ROBERT G. JAMES JUDGE

This is a products liability case brought by Plaintiff Daniel Dixon (“Dixon”) pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act (the “LPLA”) against the Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. (the “Home Depot”), Ryobi Technologies, Inc. (“Ryobi”), One World Technologies, Inc. (“One World”), and Techtronic Industries Co., Ltd. (“Techtronic”) (hereafter collectively referred to as “Defendants”).

Pending before the Court is Dixon’s Motion in Limine “to Exclude attacks on Plaintiff’s Counsel and Allegations of Conspiracy.” [Doc. No. 89].

For the following reasons, Dixon’s Motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

I. Facts and Procedural History

On January 7, 2011, Dixon was injured while operating a Ryobi table saw, model BTS 12S (“the saw” or the “BTS 12S”). Dixon purchased the saw in September 2009 from the Home Depot in Monroe, Louisiana. Dixon filed this personal injury lawsuit, seeking compensation under the LPLA for the injuries he sustained.

Dixon alleges that the saw was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, in part, because it did not incorporate “flesh detection” technology, which causes a saw blade to stop spinning and retract in milliseconds if it contacts human skin. The technology was developed by Dr. Stephen Gass (“Dr. Gass”), who has refused to testify in this trial, and whose testimony and opinions were excluded in this Court’s previous Ruling and Judgment. [Doc. Nos. 129 & 130]. Because Dr. Gass’s testimony was excluded, Defendants were unable to raise genuine issues of material fact that flesh detection technology presented a feasible alternative design under the LPLA. Id. Dixon also contends, and the Court accepted that genuine factual issues exist as to whether the saw was defective because it utilized a three-in-one blade guard.

Dr. Gass has served, for free, as an expert witness for plaintiffs in similar litigation across the country. See, e.g., Osorio v. One World Technologies, Inc., CIV. A. NO. 06-10725-NMG (D. Mass. 2010) and Stollings v. One World Technologies, Inc., et. al, CIV. A. NO. 08-C-4006 (N.D. Ill. 2012). Counsel for Dixon has been involved in many similar trials, as has the law firm representing Defendants. Citing similar issues that have arisen in the previous litigation, Dixon moves the Court to preclude any reference to the following at trial:

• Other lawsuits in which Dixon’s counsel has represented or is currently representing clients against various table saw manufacturers on behalf of persons injured while using a table saw.
• The alleged motives of Dixon’s counsel in prosecuting this or other similar lawsuits.
• Ad hominum attacks on Dixon’s counsel, including referring to the fact that Dixon’s counsel is from Texas.
• Any alleged “conspiracy” or “joint venture” between Dr. Gass and Dixon’s counsel in ...

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