U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Stanley, who is handling discovery matters for Goodwin in the case, had mentioned during several open hearings that Goodwin was interested in appointing a court expert to advise him about the MIC unit and Bayer's safety practices.
Goodwin's order said that the parties "jointly submitted" nominations of expert witnesses and that he had accepted "the parties' jointly submitted nominee." The list of nominees was not included in the public case file, and neither side would comment on the list.
Mannan is chairman of the Texas A&M chemical engineering department and director of the university's Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center.
The center was established in 1995 in memory of an operations superintendent who was among 23 employees killed in an October 1989 explosion at the Phillips Petroleum Complex in Pasadena, Texas.
Mannan has written extensively about chemical plant safety and in recent years has also testified to Congress regarding the challenges of protecting such facilities from terrorism.
Earlier this month, for example, Mannan cautioned lawmakers against taking the simple approach of requiring companies to adopt "inherently safer" manufacturing technologies to reduce hazardous materials that might be involved in any terrorism incident.
"When inherent safety options are considered, we must understand and account for the challenges and difficulties in implementing inherently safer technology and options," Mannan told a House homeland security subcommittee.
Mannan has questioned a proposal by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for new federal regulations aimed at reducing the number of accidents caused by uncontrolled reactions of combinations of dangerous chemicals.
Some sort of rules might be needed, Mannan said, but so many different chemicals are used and are reactive in different ways that writing a clear regulation might be impossibly difficult.
Mannan has studied and written on the Bhopal disaster and its impact on chemical plant safety matters, arguing in a 2005 paper that much progress has been made, but also that "there is a long road to go and a lot to be done and the need for all stakeholders to work together."
Last year, Mannan submitted comments on plans for a National Academy of Sciences study of the Bayer MIC unit and broader issues of chemical plant safety, saying the study should examine "previous worldwide incidents involving MIC" to look for lessons learned.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.