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explain, the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking Lafferty’s “expert” opinions on these subjects.13/


Lafferty’s Opinion That The Lap Belt Failed.

The two-page expert

report of James Lafferty, Ph.D., stated that “[i]f Mr. Clark’s lap belt had functioned properly, he would have been restrained from impacting the roof of the Honda * * * .”

NR 54:Exh. 1.

Lafferty’s report gave the following explanation:

From measurements made of Mr. Clark, I understand that his seated height is approximately 32 inches. The distance from the bottom seat cushion of the driver’s seat of the Honda to the top of the head rest (restraint) is 32 inches. Thus, he had about four inches of clearance between the top of his head and the crushed roof of the car. A lap belt, therefore, would have prevented his neck injury.

NR 54:Exh. 1A.

At his deposition, however, Lafferty was asked “[w]hat evidence” he had to show “that the lap belt did, in fact, unlatch during the accident sequence,” and he testified that he was assuming the lap belt had become unlatched and had no opinion on that subject:

  • Q.

    In other words, you are assuming, based upon the facts that have been presented to you, that the lap belt unlatched and did not restrain him during the accident sequence; is that correct?

  • A.

    That’s correct, sir.

  • Q.

    What evidence do you have available to you that the lap belt did, in fact, unlatch during the accident sequence?

  • A.

    I didn’t address that question. I haven’t considered it, so I have no opinion on that.

  • Q.

    You have been asked to assume that, then?

  • A.

    Yes, sir.

13/ The district court correctly focussed on Lafferty’s opinions relevant to defendants’ summary judgment motion. Lafferty did offer certain opinions, such as that Clark’s injury was caused by his head hittingtheroofofthecar,thatarewithinhisexpertise and that defendants do not dispute. “The problem is that the expert didn’t stop there.” Navarro v. Fuji Heavy Indus., Ltd., 117 F.3d 1027, 1031 (7th Cir.)(af irmingdistrictcourtdecisiontoexcludeportionofaf idavitcriticalto opposing summary judgment motion), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 600 (1997). Much of Clark’s brief is devoted to showing that Lafferty was qual ied to testify asan expert, an issue that is not in dispute and is not raised in this appeal. See AOB 19-20, 24, 26-27.


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