Texas Supreme Court Rejects Expert Testimony in Crop Spraying Case
By Paul V. Esposito
Finding the testimony of experts unreliable, the Texas Supreme Court has reversed a court of appeals decision allowing a crop production loss claim to proceed to trial. Helena Chem. Co. v. Cox., 2023 Tex. LEXIS 208 (March 3, 2023). Plaintiff farmers claimed a loss of cotton production following the aerial spraying of herbicide Sendero at a neighboring ranch. Noting that an expert’s methodology and data must be reliable, the Court found too many gaps to establish sufficient evidence of causation. Lab testing was inadequate to reliably extrapolate reasonable conclusions. Testimony about aerial drift patterns was inconclusive or speculative. The experts did not account for plausible alternative causes.