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TASER's Deadliest Weapon

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Has TASER International (Nasdaq: TASR  ) turned itself around? It's possible. After a stinging legal defeat in June, the company prevailed in two cases this week.

Plaintiffs for the late Robert Earl Williams Jr. filed a notice of nonsuit, effectively dropping their case. Why? TASER chief legal counsel Doug Klint wasn't sure when I interviewed him earlier this week. He did, however, say that no money was paid to settle the case.

That's the good news. The better and more interesting news is here:

The United States District Court for the District of Nevada issued an order in the product liability wrongful death lawsuit entitled Neal-Lomax, et al. v. TASER International, et al. The order granted TASER International's Daubert motions limiting the testimony of plaintiffs' causation experts and granted TASER International's motion for summary judgment. [Emphasis added.]

You've just witnessed TASER's deadliest weapon when it comes to lawsuits: Daubert motions. Like Raid with bugs, the Daubert can kill a claim dead.

You're not qualified to say that, sir
What is it? Derived from the Supreme Court case Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, it is a challenge of the legal worthiness of expert testimony to be admitted at trial. Klint says that TASER files these when it believes named experts are relying on false claims or bad science. "We consider Dauberts in every one of our cases," Klint explained, though he also pointed out that TASER doesn't file a Daubert every time. Circumstances and credibility dictate filings, he said.

Smart move. Dauberts don't always work. The Department of Justice filed one in a failed attempt to block Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) from combining with PeopleSoft in 2004.

Then again, Dauberts can also can provide crucial legal cover, as was true for General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) in a landmark 1997 case (GE v. Joiner) that helped to establish the Daubert standard that TASER relies on today.

I'll understand if these ramblings strike you as watered-down legalese. Maybe they are. I include them here because, as investors, it's our duty to understand the pressure points of the businesses that we own. Lawsuits create pressure for TASER -- pressure that can't be relieved via a national shield law of the sort that protects gun makers Sturm, Ruger (NYSE: RGR  ) and Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC  ) .

For TASER, there's only cash and the more-than-occasional Daubert filing. Now you, too, know what one is.

A stunning array of Foolishness awaits you:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Oracle at the time of publication. He also hunts for the best of tech as a contributor to Motley Fool Rule Breakers, which counts TASER among its holdings. Here's how to try this market-beating service free for 30 days. Get access to all of Tim's Foolish writings here.

The Motley Fool's disclosure policy wasn't all that stunned to hear about Kanye West's throwdown with TMZ at LAX.

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