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Supreme Court Denies Certiorari To Welder Seeking Review Of $20 Million Verdict Reversal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court announced May 16 that it denied a petition for a writ of certiorari for a welder who sought review of an appellate court opinion overturning a $20 million jury award for failing to warn of the risks of inhaling manganese in welding fumes (Jeff Tamraz, et uxor v. Lincoln Electric Co., et al., No. 10-1122, U.S. Sup.). 

A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio jury awarded $17.7 million in compensatory damages to Jeff Tamraz and $3 million in compensatory damages for loss of consortium to Terry Tamraz, his wife, in December 2007 (Jeff Tamraz, et uxor v. Lincoln Electric Co., et al., No. 04-18948, N.D. Ohio). Jeff Tamraz alleges that he developed a neurological injury from inhaling welding fumes containing manganese. 

Lincoln Electric Co., Hobart Brothers Co., ESAB Group Inc. (No. 08-4015, 6th Cir.) and TDY Industries Inc (No. 08-4016, 6th Cir.) filed separate appeals in August 2008.  The appeals were consolidated in November 2008 in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Jeff Tamraz, et uxor v. Lincoln Electric Co., et al., No. 08-4015 [consolidated], 6th Cir.). 

The defendants challenged the admission of the opinion of Walter Carlini, M.D., under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., (509 U.S. 579 [1993]) . Carlini is a neurologist at the Medford Neurological & Spine Clinic in Medford, Ore. 

A divided Sixth Circuit panel ruled Sept 8 that Judge Kathleen McDonald O'Malley, who presides over the multidistrict litigation consolidated in the District Court (In re:  Welding Fume Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1535, No. 03-17000, N.D. Ohio), exceeded her authority when she admitted Carlini's causation testimony to the effect that exposure to welding fume triggered manganese-induced parkinsonism.  The case was remanded for a new trial. The final mandate was issued in November by the Sixth Circuit panel, which denied an Oct. 1 motion by the plaintiffs for rehearing en banc

The Tamrazes filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on March 9.  The defendants filed a brief in opposition on April 13.  The plaintiffs filed a reply on April 21. 

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the June issue of Mealey's Litigation Report: Welding Rods.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit] 

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