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 the car. A lap belt, therefore, would have prevented his neck injury.
NR 54:Exh. 1A at 2 (emphasis added). Lafferty’s critical point was that a well functioning lap belt would have allowed less than four inches of movement.
The district court rejected this “four inches of movement” rationale because “it does not appear that Dr. Lafferty’s opinions have been subjected to the scientific method.” NR 87:15. Lafferty conducted no tests to determine the forces acting on the lap belt in this accident. NR 61:Tab 1 at 133, 137, 138. He could not identify any literature which supported his belief that a lap belt would have stopped Clark from hitting the roof. Id. at 133, 134 (“I don’t think that’s ever been measured.”). Instead, he based this critical opinion on his “experience”:
What is your basis for saying that a properly functioning belt would keep him from reaching the roof rail?
The lap belt would hold him down.
And what testing or data base do you rely upon in offering that opinion?
Is that it?
Id. at 123. Not surprisingly, the district court was “unable to determine what methodology or reasoning, if any, serves as the basis for Dr. Lafferty’s opinions.” NR 87:15.
With respect to whether Lafferty’s opinion passed muster under the Daubert reliability factors, this case is not even close. Clark does not maintain that Lafferty’s testimony satisfies even a single Daubert factor. Instead, he suggests that because Lafferty invoked his “experience,” and because he examined the Honda, the buckle, and Clark’s medical records, his opinion that the lap belt came unbuckled during the accident