The Daubert Standard Is a Defendant’s Best Friend in Product Liability Lawsuits
If you had a penny for every time you had ever seen that clickbait headline that “gut doctors” allegedly tell you to avoid, you would have enough money to pay a six-figure judgment to every dissatisfied customer who had ever done business with your company. Misinformation, especially about medicine and science, has a way of racking up millions of views on the Internet. Fortunately, in a court of law, the judge or jury does not base its decisions purely on rumors, and especially not on the number of times a given rumor has been shared on social media. In product liability cases and other cases where the parties use scientific research to support their claims about whether or not the defendant’s actions harmed the plaintiff’s health, there is a legal precedent for how the courts determine which scientific evidence is admissible in court. Your product liability defense lawyer will help you present strong evidence that complies with the Daubert standard.
The Daubert Standard and Texas Law
The Daubert standard for scientific evidence in court cases takes its name from a 1993 decision by the United States Supreme Court. A Louisiana couple sued a manufacturer of prenatal vitamins after their son was born with disabilities. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the evidence the plaintiffs presented did not show a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s product caused the child’s health problems. All the ingredients in the supplements the mother took are very common in prenatal vitamins, and millions of children are born every year to mothers who take supplements with the same ingredients. More importantly, the research cited by the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses could not prove a direct link between the vitamin supplements and the child’s disabilities. The court’s guidelines about what makes medical and scientific evidence admissible set a precedent known as the Daubert standard.
These are the highlights of the Daubert standard:
- The judge must approve every study an expert witness plans to cite before the jury can hear the witness’s testimony.
- Any studies the expert witness cites must be published in peer-reviewed journals and clearly state their methodology and rate of error.
- Only studies where the experiment used human patients are admissible in cases involving injury to a person. Animal studies and in vitro experiments are not admissible as evidence, although they are important parts of medical research.
The earliest Texas case to cite the Daubert decision was in 1995, making it one of the first states to adopt the Daubert standard. Today, 40 states use the Daubert standard. Thus, it has mostly replaced the Frye standard, which was based on a 1923 case, and in which the main criterion was that the scientific theories presented by expert witnesses were widely accepted.
Let Us Help You Today
You need a Brownsville product liability defense lawyer who will work closely with expert witnesses to present an airtight case. Contact Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer for help today.