Id. at 25. The court added that “[e]ven if” it were to consider Lafferty’s testimony, that testimony would in no way “contradict Dr. Smith’s opinion that Clark’s post-accident position was inconsistent with” the unlatching of the belt during the accident. Ibid.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT This is a case in which the district court properly exercised its “gatekeeping” function to prevent a meritless lawsuit from reaching a jury. On the critical question of whether the lap belt remained in place throughout the accident, the only eyewitness who recalled seeing the lap belt after the accident stated unequivocally that the belt was in its proper position across Clark’s lap. This eyewitness, moreover, was the first to arrive at the vehicle after the accident. In addition, defendants’ expert testified that the lap belt had not come unbuckled, pointing to the fact that Clark remained sitting upright in the driver’s seat following the “high energy” rollover (in contrast to the other two passengers, one of whom was wearing only a shoulder belt, who were ejected from the vehicle). Defendants’ expert also conducted simulated rollover tests involving the same model of the Honda Accord and another vehicle, and concluded on the basis of those tests and other scientific studies that Clark’s injury’s could have occurred even if the belt had remained fastened. In other words, plaintiff’s injury is no evidence, in and of itself, that the lap belt became unlatched.
In response to this powerful evidence that the lap belt had not come unbuckled and thus was not defective, plaintiff proffered the testimony of his own expert, James Lafferty, and made-for-summary-judgment affidavits of both Lafferty and Melissa Hodson, a fact witness. In a careful and thorough opinion, the district court concluded that Lafferty’s opinions should be stricken because they were based on an unreliable methodology and otherwise inadmissible, and that Hodson’s affidavit should be stricken because it contradicted her prior testimony under oath. These evidentiary rulings, which