CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A court-appointed expert in the lawsuit over the Bayer CropScience methyl isocyanate unit should be disqualified because his report is based largely on a study prepared by an expert witness hired by Bayer's lawyers, an attorney for Kanawha Valley residents who are suing Bayer argued in a motion filed Thursday.
William DePaulo, the residents' lawyer, alleged that Bayer violated court guidelines by having repeated and "grossly inappropriate" private discussions with the court's expert, Texas A&M engineer Sam Mannan. DePaulo alleged that Mannan "incorporated as his own" conclusions from a draft report provided to him by Bayer.
DePaulo said that he had found no evidence of "intentional misconduct," by Mannan, but that the situation creates the appearance of impropriety.
"The public trust is destroyed by the appearance of impropriety as much as by the reality," DePaulo wrote. "It is apparent now, if it was not before, that no representations made to this court by Bayer can ever provide the court sufficient comfort to warrant lifting the current injunction."
U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin has not yet publicly disclosed Mannan's report, which was to examine safety practices at Bayer's MIC unit and the chances for a major incident at the facility.
But in his motion, DePaulo alleged that parts of an MIC report by David Moore, an expert hired by Jackson Kelly to testify for Bayer, were "incorporated directly into Mannan's purportedly independent work product on a wholesale basis."
DePaulo said that parts of Mannan's report "are literally carbon copies, identical in all respects," to the study prepared for Bayer by Moore.
Bayer attorneys had not yet filed any response to DePaulo's motion and declined any immediate comment Thursday evening until they had more time to review it.