Wisconsin’s icy winds may seem positively tropical compared to the frigid reception some litigators received recently in a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued at the end of November.

Authored by Judge Richard A. Posner, the opinion in Smoot v. Mazda Motors of America Inc., 469 F.3d 675 (7th Cir. 2006), shoots down a product liability claim based on a theory of res ipsa loquitur, elaborates a series of proof failures by plaintiff and her expert and lectures the lawyers for both sides about delinquencies in properly describing the basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction.

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