Ps brought suit against D claiming they suffered limb reduction birth defects because their mothers had taken Bendectin (drug prescribed for morning sickness).
Ps offered expert testimony at trial that had not been published, and the research had only been done after the litigation began.
Trial court granted summary judgment for D.
9th Cir COA affirmed.
SCOTUS reversed, remanded.
9th Cir COA affirmed, summary judgment for D.
What test should be used in determining whether to allow expert scientific testimony?
The Daubert Test:
Did the scientist derive their findings through the scientific method/is his testimony based on scientifically valid principles?
Is the theory or technique employed by the expert generally accepted in the scientific community?
Has it been subjected to peer review and publication?
Has it and can it be tested?
Is the known or potential error rate acceptable?
Is the testimony relevant to the task at hand/does it logically advance a material aspect of the party's case?
Federal judges must perform a gate keeping role.
One very significant fact to be considered is whether the experts are proposing to testify about matters growing naturally and directly out of research they have conducted independent of the research. In this case, their opinions were developed expressly for litigation.
None of the research has been accepted for publication in a reputable journal.
P's must show causation; they must prove that their injuries were the result of the accused cause and not some independent factor.
CA tort law requires Ps to show that D more likely than not caused their injuries. Increasing the likelihood of injury is not sufficient.
Thus, Ps experts would have to testify that incidence of such defects was 2/1000 in Bendectin mothers vs. 1/1000 for normal mothers.