When a slip and fall case arises, some parties hire expert witnesses to measure how well the floor resists slips. In other words, the expert tries to measure the coefficient of friction between a person’s shoe and the floor. Just like any other expert witness, it is important that whomever performs this testing use proper methodologies. The point of hiring an expert is defeated if improper methodologies are used because the court will then exclude the expert from trial.
In the field of slip resistance testing, one methodology is the horizontal pull slipmeter. If your expert uses it, hire a new one. Why? Consider this March 5, 2014 minute order from A-11-640310-C.
The Motion to Strike Expert Witness Gary Presswood came before this Court on January 15, 2014, Oral Calendar. “An expert’s testimony will assist the trier of fact only when it is relevant and the product of reliable methodology.” Hallmark v. Eldridge, 124 Nev. 492 (2008). The COURT FINDS, that there is no recognized standard of slip resistance, and that the testing method used is designed for dry floors and not wet floors. Further, ASTM F609 states that HPS is not appropriate for evaluating liquid contaminated surfaces. Additionally, the COURT FINDS, that the laboratory testing of wet floors lacked proper identification, testing protocols, and results. Therefore, COURT ORDERED, Motion to Strike Expert Witness Gary Presswood is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. The Motion is GRANTED in that Dr. Presswood cannot testify as to any slip resistance standard since he admits that no such standard exists, and he cannot testify as to any conclusions based upon his HPS testing, as it is not approved for wet floors. Additionally, Dr. Presswood’s statement that he has conducted his own laboratory testing on wet flooring is excluded as he has failed to identify and properly produce his backup date, testing protocols, or results. See Hallmark v. Eldridge, 124 Nev. 492 (2008). The Motion is DENIED in part, as Dr. Presswood may testify regarding his observations, proximity to any water sources, the general location, etc., and general layout of the area in question.