On March 5th, David Exline, Senior Vice President at Gateway Analytical hosted a webinar for attorneys and engineers involved in civil product liability claims. During this webinar, he provided a general overview of product liability testing within the laboratory and discussed basic analytical testing methods and technologies used for testing different types of materials. He also provided a unique forensic approach to the investigation, testing and defense of analytical information related to products and product testing and provide details on how to interpret the data and what conclusions can be made from the results.
For more details on the webinar, you can use the links below.
We received a number of questions from attendees during the Q&A segment, and you can find those questions and answers below. If you have any questions about this or any other topic, please contact us.
- Have you ever had paint liability cases where the actual manufacturer of the pigment was tested?
Yes. This is a common analysis when the manufacturer of a specific paint needs to be determined. It may range from the specific manufacturer of an older paint to determine consistencies with patent claims or even OEM vs. repainted materials.
- How sensitive are the laboratory methods you described to detect oxidation of polymers?
Oxidation of polymers is common polymer defect that may lead to discoloration or failures of polymer systems. FTIR and Raman spectroscopy are very valuable methods when determining the presence or potential causes of oxidation in polymers.
- Do you need to conduct all the tests you described for every case?
As described in the webinar, one or several methods may be needed to fully characterize a material depending on the material and the type of investigation. In a routine environment, multiple analytical methods are utilized to provide “pieces of the puzzle” so a combination of analytical data can be used to determine a final conclusion.
- You showed a picture of bug, are you able to determine the species of the insect?
Optical microscopy is an efficient method to determine the presence of insect parts. To fully speciate an insect, our laboratory utilizes entomologists to determine the exact species of a complete or partial insect when possible.
- Given that product liability testing varies from case to case, don’t novel procedures (not techniques such as FTIR, XRF, etc but their application) often result? How do you address validation of these procedures and their admissibility in court?
Very seldom are two cases quite the same. This emphasizes the need to fully validate your instrumentation and ensure training of the scientific staff to apply novel procedures. We address validation of procedures for product liability cases by ensuring the proper qualification system is in place for the instrumentation and base our analysis on validation tests conducted on a case by case basis.