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Herbst v. Givaudan Flavors Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

December 3, 2018

MARLIN HERBST, Plaintiff,
v.
GIVAUDAN FLAVORS CORPORATION and EMORAL, INC. f/k/a Polarome International, Inc., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT GIVAUDAN'S MOTIONS TO EXCLUDE EXPERTS AND FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON ALL CLAIMS

          MARK W. BENNETT, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 1

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS ........................................................................ 3

         A. The Challenges To Experts ....................................................... 3

         1. Standards for admissibility of expert opinions ........................ 3

         2. Application of the standards ............................................. 6

         B. Summary Judgment ................................................................ 8

         1. Applicable standards ....................................................... 8

         2. Application of the standards ........................................... 10

         III. CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 11

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In this case, plaintiff Marlin Herbst alleges that he suffers from bronchiolitis obliterans (aka “popcorn lung”) and/or other lung or respiratory diseases or impairments from working with butter flavorings containing diacetyl at the American Popcorn Company (APC) plant in Sioux City, Iowa, between 1991 and August 1993. On January 27, 2017, Herbst brought products liability claims under strict liability and negligence and a claim of breach of implied warranties against various “manufacturing defendants, ” which are companies that allegedly designed, manufactured, distributed, and/or sold diacetyl-containing butter flavorings to APC, and against various “diacetyl defendants, ” which are companies that allegedly designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, and/or sold diacetyl that was used by APC. The remaining “manufacturing defendant” is Givaudan Flavors Corporation, and the remaining “diacetyl defendant” is Emoral, Inc.

         This case is now before me on four motions by Givaudan: (1) its September 4, 2018, First Daubert Motion To Exclude General Causation Testimony By Plaintiff's Expert, relating to Dr. Robert Harrison; (2) its September 4, 2018, Second Daubert Motion To Exclude The Testimony And Opinions Of Charles Pue, M.D. (Plaintiff's Proffered Expert On Plaintiff's Alleged Exposures To Diacetyl And Specific Causation); (3) its September 4, 2018, Third Daubert Motion To Exclude Warnings Testimony And Opinions By Plaintiff's Expert, again relating to Dr. Robert Harrison; and (4) its September 4, 2018, Motion For Summary Judgment As To All Claims. After various extensions, resistances and replies have now been filed, and the motions are ripe for consideration.

         Givaudan requests oral arguments on each of its motions, but I conclude that the parties' written arguments and supporting materials are sufficient for me to resolve the pending motions.[1] Therefore, all four motions are deemed fully submitted without oral arguments.

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         A. The Challenges To Experts

         Givaudan relies on my anticipated exclusion of the experts' challenged opinions among its grounds for summary judgment. Consequently, I will begin my consideration of the ...


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