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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Larry and Debra Fulgham brought products liability and negligence claims against FFE Transportation Services Inc. arising out of a tractor-trailer accident. The trial court granted a directed verdict in favor of FFE at the close of the plaintiffs’ case-in-chief, finding that FFE could not be held strictly liable and that there was no evidence to support the negligence claim. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding that strict products liability was applicable because the agreement between FFE and Larry constituted a lease of the relevant trailer, that expert testimony was not necessary to establish FFE’s negligence, and that there was some evidence of each of the required elements of negligence. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded to the court of appeals. The court’s conclusions are as follows. First, strict products liability is inapplicable when, as here, a company gratuitously provides a product to an independent contractor working for the company for the sole purpose of accomplishing the company’s business purposes. Second, on appeal, a trial court’s determination regarding whether expert testimony is necessary to establish negligence should be reviewed de novo. Third, the trial court did not err in finding that the standard of care for the proper inspection and maintenance of a refrigerated trailer is beyond the experience of the layman and therefore must be established by expert testimony. Fourth, no probative expert testimony regarding the relevant standard of care was admitted. OPINION:Smith, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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