Plaintiffs filed a products liability suit, alleging that a ladder collapsed due to a failure in a hinge, as a result of a defectively designed or manufactured locking bolt. The plaintiffs filed a motion to substantiate their theory by conducting metallurgical and hardness tests on the bolt, which would have irreversibly altered the material. In considering the relevant factors, the magistrate judge determined that (i) the proposed testing was relevant, reasonable, and necessary to proving the case; (ii) the deprivation of the ability to make a live presentation did not outweigh the benefits of allowing the plaintiffs to test the hardness of the bolts; (iii) photography and testing of the end of the bolt were not viable alternatives; and (iv) there were adequate safeguards in place to minimize the potential for prejudice to defendants. See Merchandani v. Home Depot, 235 F.R.D. 611 (D.Md. 2006).
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