GENERAL ELECTRIC v. JOINER CASE BRIEF
General Electric v. Joiner Case Brief
Robert Joiner, the plaintiff, worked for the Water and Light Department for several years
in Thomasville, Georgia. Part of his job required him to work closely with, and often, stick his
hands and arms in a mineral-based dielectric fluid that he claimed would sometimes get into his
eyes and mouth. In 1983, it was found that the dielectric fluid in its transformers contained
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were deemed extremely hazardous to humans and their
own health. After this, Congress halted the production. In 1991, Robert Joiner was diagnosed
with single-cell lung cancer. He attempted to link his cancer with the dielectric fluid. Joiner's
family has a history of lung cancer, and he was also a smoker of 8 years at the time. While Joiner
did admit that he was high risk for lung cancer, he still argued the exposure of the chemicals
brought out the cancer. The District Court found the expert witness testimony inadmissible. The
court ruled this because they believed "(1) there was no genuine issues as to whether Joiner had
been exposed to furans and dioxins, and (2) the testimony of Joiner's expert witnesses had failed
to show a link between the exposure of the PCBs and the single-cell lung cancer."
GE v. Joiner
522 U.S. 136, 140 (1997). The US Supreme Court granted a certiorari.
Was an abuse of discretion standard appropriate for the appellate court to apply while
reviewing a trial court's decision to admit or exclude evidence and expert testimony?