Hall & Evans’ attorneys Malcolm S. Mead, James C. Worthen, and Kenneth H. Lyman received a written order from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a 2020 trial defense verdict in a co-employee liability case in Wyoming. Plaintiff claimed he suffered serious personal injuries when two Komatsu 830E haul trucks were involved in a side-swipe type accident while operating in an open pit coal mine in northern Wyoming. Plaintiff alleged that the driver of the second haul truck operated her vehicle in a willful and wanton manner by violating multiple safety rules in causing the accident. The trial took over two weeks in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Wyoming. The jury returned a complete defense verdict in less than three hours.
On appeal, the primary issues were allegations that the Defense had not properly disclosed expert opinions held by non-retained experts who were employees of the mine where the accident happened. The core argument surrounded a mine employee using GPS from the haul trucks being driven by the Plaintiff and the Defendant, to pinpoint the location of the accident on an aerial photo that was not part of the GPS system. In a nearly 50-page opinion, the 10th Circuit set forth a comprehensive discussion on what constitutes fact vs. expert testimony, the nature and extent of required disclosure of expert opinions by non-retained experts, and the reasonable application of expert opinions/data to resolve factual disputes at trial. The 10th Circuit concluded that admitted testimony at trial complied with all Rule 26 disclosure requirements and that Plaintiff suffered no prejudice by the admission of the testimony.