Christopher C. Lam Wins Summary Judgment in Wrongful Death Case

May 23, 2024 06:48 AM
Christopher C. Lam

Christopher C. Lam, partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina, obtained summary judgment for a leading HVAC manufacturer in a wrongful death case in Las Vegas, Nevada. The case was brought by the daughter of a 74-year-old woman who was found dead on her bed after not having been seen for a couple of days. When first responders found her body, the home’s thermostat read 92 degrees. Plaintiff alleged the heat in the home caused her mother’s death and sued the manufacturer of the air conditioner and the HVAC installer for product defect and negligence. However, Chris was able to elicit favorable deposition testimony from both of Plaintiff’s experts that proved fatal to her claims. Plaintiff’s cardiologist expert admitted he didn’t know when the decedent died or what the temperature in her house was at that time and even admitted under oath he was no longer able to offer a causation opinion to a reasonable degree of medical probability. He also admitted he could not identify a methodology for his conclusory opinion that heat caused the decedent’s death. Plaintiff’s engineering expert admitted that electrical usage data from the energy company revealed the thermostat was still responding to its set point until after a time the evidence suggested the decedent was already dead.

Based on the deposition testimony, Chris’s Bradley team filed a motion to exclude Plaintiff’s medical expert as well as a motion for summary judgment due to the absence of required expert testimony on causation. Following a hearing, the court granted both motions and dismissed the case with prejudice. Plaintiff had alleged damages well into seven figures. Bradley’s local counsel was Aaron Shipley at McDonald Carano.

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