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Historians

Admissibility Rate: 1.000    (1/1)

Prado Alvarez v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 405 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2005).  Longtime smoker from Puerto Rico contracts lung cancer and dies.  His family sues cigarette manufacturer on theories including product defect and failure to warn.  To sustain either claim, plaintiffs must show that in 1950's and 60s, near time when smoker took up his habit, ordinary consumers in Puerto Rico were unaware of dangers of smoking.  Defendants move for summary judgment on that issue, offering testimony from historian Dr. Luis Martinez-Fernandez.  Plaintiffs respond, relying on expert opinion from Marly Ferrer Montalvo, who holds bachelor's degree in history and is enrolled in master's program.  Defendants argue she lacks sufficient education or experience to qualify as expert and move to exclude her testimony.  District court never explicitly rules on motion to exclude, but awards summary judgment to defendants, in opinion invoking testimony from defendants' expert and making no mention of plaintiffs'.  Exclusion [?] affirmed.  If district court intended to exclude testimony from plaintiffs' expert, review would be for abuse of discretion.  But even assuming that district court considered but discounted her testimony, affirmance of summary judgment would be warranted on de novo review.  Qualifications of plaintiffs' expert were meager, especially by comparison with defendants'.  More important, her opinions were thinly documented, whereas defendants' expert's 31-page affidavit cited wide variety of contemporaneous materials alerting Puerto Rican public to health dangers of smoking.  Based on evidence of record, no reasonable juror could conclude that Puerto Rican public was unaware that smoking posed substantial health risks.

United States v. Dailide, 227 F.3d 385 (6th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 876 (2003).  Government brings denaturalization proceedings against Algimantas Dailide because he failed, when applying for American citizenship, to disclose his role in Nazi-sponsored Lithuanian Security Police (Saugumas) in Vilnius from 1941 to 1944.  To show how Saugumas assisted Nazis in persecuting Jews, government offers testimony from historian Dr. Yitzhak Arad.  District court grants summary judgment to government in partial reliance on Dr. Arad's affidavit, and Dailide appeals.  Admissibility affirmed.  Dailide complains that Dr. Arad's testimony was not based on personal knowledge, but district court properly found him competent to offer expert testimony, and experts may rely on information not within their personal knowledge.  Dr. Arad cited facts and documents on which his opinions were based, and those opinions were well-informed.  Nor does assistance received by Dr. Arad in drafting his report warrant exclusion of his testimony.  Dr. Arad prepared and signed his report and swore to accuracy of its contents.

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