Ford appealed a plaintiff verdict in a Crown Victoria roof crush case. After rejecting Ford’s argument that the plaintiff failed to prove that the car was in the same or substantially same condition as the time it left the manufacturer, (as the replaced windshield in question was not relevant to the plaintiff’s design defect claim), the Fifth Circuit addressed Ford’s argument that it should have been permitted to present crash test video to the jury in association with Ford’s expert’s testimony as a demonstrative aid. “When the demonstrative evidence is offered only as an illustration of general scientific principles, not as a reenactment of disputed events, it need not pass the substantial similarity test. Such demonstrative aids, however, must not be misleading in and of themselves, and one such way that a demonstration might mislead is when, as here, the demonstration resembles the disputed accident…. Ford characterized the CRIS test as essentially depicting Ford’s theory of the accident, all the while maintaining that it was offered, not as a reenactment, but only to show general scientific principles…. The similarities between Ford’s theory of the accident and the conditions of the CRIS test heighten the visual evidence’s prejudicial effect, and this is sufficient to justify the district court’s exercise of discretion in limiting Ford’s expert to oral testimony only.” See Muth v. Ford, 461 F.3d 557 (5th Cir. 2006).
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