During the late morning direct examination of Dr. Julie Yang, a W.R. Grace & Co. chemist, prosecutor Kris McLean introduced about 25 exhibits during two hours. Each contained a variation of a document, report, or request that Dr. Yang either wrote or received during the late 1970s in regard to product testing of Libby tremolite.
Among the first set of exhibits were progress reports written by Dr. Yang in her capacity as a chemist for W.R. Grace. The second set of exhibits largely included requests by W.R. Grace for the technical services of her research department, and the corresponding test results. Each time McLean attempted to introduce an exhibit through Dr. Wang, Bernick would object to lack of foundation based on lack of personal knowledge.
Shortly before noon, when Bernick recited a two-minute-long objection, Judge Molloy decided to release the jury. He then allowed McLean and Bernick to argue about whether the second set of exhibits, the requests by Grace to Dr. Yang and Dr. Yang’s results, were admissible.
Bernick argued that Dr. Yang lacked personal knowledge of the products in the requests, and therefore, McLean could not lay foundation for the requests. See Fed. R. of Evid. 602. He argued that the exhibits, if admitted, would be prejudicial, because the jury would see the exhibits without context or an explanation of the product. See Fed. R. of Evid. 403.
For example, McLean introduced an exhibit about a product called “superclean” tremolite, which Grace had attempted to manufacture in the late 1970s. Dr. Yang had tested the material, but did not know whether the “superclean” tremolite was ever sold to the public, or by whom, etc. Without an additional witness to define “superclean” tremolite within a general context, Bernick argued, the admission of the request and test results could be prejudicial to W.R. Grace.
McLean responded by arguing that Dr. Yang, although she may not have had personal knowledge of each product, had talked with other W.R. Grace doctors and employees and included their statements in her written reports. McLean argued that these statements are not hearsay because they are admissions by agents of W.R. Grace, the Defendant. See Fed. R. of Evid. 801(d)(2)(D), Admissions of Party-Opponents.
McLean wanted to illustrate that W.R. Grace had attempted to make “cleaner” vermiculite through their research department, thus showing that W.R. Grace & Co., in the late 1970s, knew tremolite could cause harm.
Judge Molloy will announce his ruling after the noon recess.
– Audrey Schultz (posted 3:30 pm)