Georgia Court of Appeals Reverses Denial of Summary Judgment to Contractor on Causation in Mold Exposure Case
ATLANTA, December 19, 2016 – In a matter considering the requisite expert evidence on the issue of causation in a mold exposure, personal injury case, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a Motion for Summary Judgment of a remediation contractor. The Court concluded that the expert testimony causation standards recognized by the Georgia Supreme Court in Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc. v. Knight, 299 Ga. 286, 291 (2016), a case considering the expert testimony standard in an asbestos exposure case, applied to mold exposure cases. Specifically, the Court recognized that the “an expert’s opinion on causation in a toxic tort case is admissible only if the expert concludes that the plaintiff’s exposure to a toxic substance made at least a ‘meaningful contribution’ to his injuries.” The case is important because it held that expert testimony must not only meet that minimum threshold, but it must also meet the Daubert standard at the summary judgment phase. Finding that the proffered testimony did not meet either standard, the Court recognized that “the gaps left by the scant medical testimony are not filled by probative nonexpert testimony of a causal link between [the contractor’s] negligence and [plaintiff’s] alleged injuries.” The case is also important as it extends the expert causation standards announced by the Georgia Supreme Court for asbestos-exposure cases to other types of toxic exposure cases including mold exposure cases. The remediation contractor was represented on appeal by C. Shane Keith and H. Eric Hilton of Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP, and argued by H. Eric Hilton.