ROSIE K. SWEREDOSKI, as Personal Representative of the Estate of DOUGLAS A. SWEREDOSKI, and Individually Recognized as Surviving Spouse, Plaintiff,
ALFA LAVAL, INC., et al., Defendants.
County Superior Court
Plaintiff: Robert J. Sweeney, Esq.; Donni E. Young, Esq.
Defendant: David A. Goldman, Esq.; Kendra A. Bergeron, Esq.
GIBNEY, P.J. JUSTICE.
Rosie K. Sweredoski (Plaintiff) filed the instant Motion in
Limine to Preclude the Testimony of Defendant Crane Co.'s
(Defendant) Expert Witness, Dr. Michael Graham (Dr. Graham).
The Plaintiff argues that Dr. Graham is not qualified to
provide expert testimony regarding the causation of
asbestos-related diseases and that, under Rhode Island Rule
of Evidence 702 (Rule 702), the Court should preclude the
witness from testifying to matters outside the scope of his
expertise. The Defendant contends that Dr. Graham is a
qualified pathologist with relevant experience in matters of
asbestos-related diseases and causation. The Defendant
maintains that this Court should not preclude Dr.
Graham's testimony under Rule 702 or, in the alternative,
should withhold ruling until trial when the expert witness
can provide his qualifications to the Court. This Court
exercises jurisdiction pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-14.
Sweredoski was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma on
December 2, 2010. He died on January 22, 2013 as a result of
his illness. His wife, the Plaintiff, brings the
above-captioned action against companies that manufactured or
distributed asbestos-containing products, including the
Defendant, Crane Co. The Plaintiff alleges that Mr.
Sweredoski's mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to
the Defendant's asbestos-containing products.
Plaintiff has moved in limine to preclude the
testimony of Defendant's expert witness, Dr. Graham. The
Plaintiff anticipates that Dr. Graham will be called to
testify that Mr. Sweredoski's exposure to products
manufactured and/or supplied by the Defendant did not
contribute to the cause of his mesothelioma.
Plaintiff contends that while Dr. Graham is an expert
pathologist, an expert medical examiner, and an expert at
determining causes of death, he is not an expert regarding
the causation of asbestos-related diseases. The Plaintiff
maintains that, of all Dr. Graham's publications, only
one references asbestos or mesothelioma. The Plaintiff argues
that under Rule 702, Dr. Graham's testimony is not
relevant, appropriate, or of assistance to a jury. The
Plaintiff argues that the matter at hand should be treated
like a medical malpractice case, where experts are limited to
fields in which he or she is specifically qualified.
Defendant contends that Dr. Graham's work and experience
as a pathologist makes him qualified to provide expert
testimony regarding the causation of Mr. Sweredoski's
mesothelioma. The Defendant provides the background, history,
and expertise of Dr. Graham to argue that, under Rule 702,
Dr. Graham is qualified to testify. The Defendant maintains
that Dr. Graham, a board certified pathologist, has been
studying asbestos-related ...