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Garner v. BNSF Railway Company

Case Details and Video Transcript:

Filed 1/4/24 

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION 

COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT 

DIVISION ONE 

STATE OF CALIFORNIA GARY GARNER, as Personal Representative, etc., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, Defendant and Respondent. 
D082229 (Super. Ct. No. CIVDS1720288) 

In this case, plaintiff-appellant, Gary Garner, filed a wrongful death suit against BNSF Railway. Gardner claimed that his father died of cancer because of his exposure to toxic levels of diesel exhaust during his employment with BNSF. 

At trial, the court granted BNSF’s motions in limine to exclude Garner’s expert that was to testify about the link between the exposure and cancer. The trial court reasoned that the science that Garner’s expert relied on was deficient and that the expert’s opinion did not add up with the data. Garner appealed.

The California Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling and judgment, and remanded the case instructing the trial court to deny BNSF’s motions in limine regarding Garner’s expert. The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court had no business weighing the persuasiveness of Garner’s expert’s opinion, interjecting its own opinion for the expert’s opinion, or resolving scientific controversies. 

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