Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs sued the defendant pharmaceutical maker on the grounds that their products caused the plaintiff’s birth defects.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
To determine if scientific testimony should be admitted, courts must:
The focus, of course, must be solely on principles and methodology, not on the conclusions that they generate.View Full Point of Law
The plaintiffs were born with limb reduction defects, meaning that their limbs were not fully formed in the womb. They sued the defendant, alleging that their mothers had taken a drug to prevent morning sickness during their pregnancies which was the cause of their defects. Plaintiffs had difficulty establishing this allegation because the scientific body of knowledge had not yet advanced to the point where the cause could be fully explained/confirmed.
Should the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert be included in the court’s consideration?
No, there is insufficient scientific knowledge supporting the plaintiff’s allegation.
The court finds for the defendant, and does not permit the testimony in question. The court opines that to determine if scientific testimony should be admitted, courts must engage in a two part test:
In order to include testimony on a question which lacks scientific consensus, courts must
The court was not persuaded that this dual-prong standard was met under these facts, because there was significant countervailing scientific evidence, and the methods used by the plaintiff’s experts were not sufficiently rigorous. Consequently, the court did not permit the plaintiff to use this evidence in support of their allegations.