Pennsylvania Record

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Lego accident leads to lawsuit; Court irons out what evidence can be used


By Charmaine Little | Jul 8, 2019

PHILADELPHIA - On May 24, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled on a negligence case that concerned pallets of Legos falling on a man.

Donald J. Krauss is a volunteer at Fightback, a nonprofit agency that helps those living with autism. It fundraises by selling Lego products.

Krauss sued IRIS USA Inc. after a number of pallets carrying Lego baseplates fell on him as he was unloading them. C.H. Robinson, the party that shipped and delivered the items, as well as its agent KV Load settled with Krauss. 

In this case, the court ruled on five motions. It denied IRIS’ Daubert motion, stating IRIS filed it too late (eight months after the deadline to be exact); it granted in part and denied in part IRIS’ motion to bar evidence of damages; and it granted in part and denied in part Krauss’ motion to preclude evidence as it relates to a criminal conviction he received 1995.

In the Daubert motion, U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter ruled it was nearly a year late, noting that “IRIS did not make any showing of excusable neglect.”

IRIS also wanted the court to bar evidence of damages from Ms. Brillman, JC Rehab and CGB Rehab as it relates to the costs they paid for Krauss’ medical care and therapy, storing the broken baseplates and completing work that Krauss couldn’t do anymore because of his injuries. 

The court denied the motion for the first two causes, stating those were matters for Krauss and Fightback to iron out. But the court did ban Krauss from going after damages for the work done on the property and Krauss’s supplemental health insurance. It reasoned that the damages were to “remote” in relation to IRIS’ supposed negligence.

As for IRIS’ request to preclude evidence concerning Krauss’ injuries, the court granted in part and denied in part as well. It mentioned that while Krauss wanted his orthopedist to testify as a witness, that wouldn’t be viable as he never filed an expert report. At the same time, Krauss was still almost “crushed” by a ton of Legos and wanted to speak on the injuries to his neck, back and knee that he suffered. 

“It is obvious and understandable to a jury that these types of injuries may be caused by this type of accident,” said the court. "Although Mr. Krauss will not be permitted to diagnose himself, he will be permitted to discuss his own experience and pain.

When it came to IRIS’ attempt to preclude evidence about Krauss’ loss of income, the court agreed that any loss would only be speculative and granted this motion.

Krauss had his own motion to preclude evidence about his criminal past, which the court granted as not being connected to this case.

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