The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling dismissing personal-injury claims filed against the company that makes the Little Giant Ladder®, finding that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence of tests conducted by the plaintiffs’ expert. Loomis v. Wing Enters, Inc., No. 13-2332 (8th Cir., decided June 26, 2014).

The plaintiffs argued on appeal that exclusion of the expert’s “compression tests on the ground they were not conducted under conditions substantially similar to those surrounding the accident improperly shifted the burden to them to exclude all possibilities of another cause of [the plaintiff’s] injuries.” Discussing how the expert’s test conditions purposely “exaggerated to an extreme” the conditions that would cause the ladder’s legs to shift, the Eighth Circuit agreed with the lower court that the evidence was inadmissible for lack of “a foundational showing that the tests were conducted under conditions substantially similar to those surrounding the incident at issue.” Because the plaintiffs consequently had no admissible expert testimony to support their product-liability theories, the court also affirmed the lower court’s grant of the defendant’s summary-judgment motion.