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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Cresencio Lerma told his wife on May 13, 1999, that he had punctured his arm on a barbed wire fence at work. He did not receive medical treatment at the time, but his family noticed his deteriorating health. On July 14, Lerma was admitted to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with tetanus. Lerma, who had not been immunized against tetanus, died two weeks later. After looking through his employer’s records, Lerma’s wife learned that Lerma was working on a barbed wire fence on May 13 and thus inferred that he had cut his arm at work. She filed a workers’ compensation claim, but it was denied. The wife then filed suit against the workers’ compensation insurer, Texas Mutual Insurance. A jury rendered a verdict for the wife, finding the cut on Lerma’s arm was the producing cause of his death. On appeal, Texas Mutual argues that the trial court erred in admitting the testimony of the wife’s expert, Dr. Donald Mulder. Texas Mutual further asserts that the expert’s testimony failed to establish causation and was unreliable. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Relying on E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549 (Tex. 1995), the court reviews Mulder’s testimony in detail to see if there is too large of an analytical gap between the data and the expert’s testimony. Mulder could not cite to any scientific evidence that indicated that a person can get tetanus after more than 21 days; sixty days elapsed between Lerma’s cut arm and his death. The only evidence Mulder could provide to support his theory that tetanus can incubate for 60 days was that 10 percent of tetanus cases do not exhibit symptom until after 14 days, “which theoretically can include sixty days.” Aside from the problems of timing inherent in Mulder’s testimony, the court also finds it lacking in causation because Mulder could not eliminate other ways Lerma may have contracted tetanus. On the other hand, Texas Mutual’s expert, Dr. Nelson Avery, who could not eliminate other potential causes either, nonetheless concluded that the cut on the arm was the least likely source for the tetanus because of the “less than a hundredth of one percent” that Lerma would get tetanus that many days after being cut. “In light of the Robinson factors and the”analytical gap’ test, Dr. Mulder’s testimony that Lerma’s fatal contraction of tetanus came from a cut on his arm during the course and scope of his employment approximately two months before his death is unreliable. Therefore, the trial court abused its discretion in admitting his testimony, which constitutes no evidence as to the causation of Lerma’s death.” OPINION:Stone, J.; Stone, Duncan and Angelini, JJ.

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