Tagged: Daubert

Show Me the Study: New Jersey Appellate Division Reverses Verdict in Talcum Powder Tort Case Because Causation Testimony of Plaintiffs’ Experts Had No Scientific Basis

Whether in environmental litigation (as we reported here) or in tort cases, expert testimony is often required to explain complex scientific concepts and, crucially, to establish a causal connection between exposure to a given substance and an adverse health or environmental effect. In its recent decision in Lanzo v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, the New Jersey Appellate Division reminded litigants of the importance of the court’s “gatekeeping” function when it tossed out a nine-figure judgment because the trial court had admitted testimony from the plaintiffs’ experts that lacked a proper scientific basis. The appellate court also held that the trial court had erred when it denied the motion for a separate trial of one defendant who was likely harmed by an adverse inference instruction that was required because of another defendant’s spoliation of important evidence. The plaintiffs, a husband and wife, had sued Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), Imerys Talc America, Inc. (Imerys), and a large number of other defendants in 2016, alleging that the husband had contracted mesothelioma from his use of JJCI’s talcum powder products. Imerys had acquired a business that supplied talc to JJCI in 2011. The key issues in the case were whether the talc used by JJCI contained asbestos, which is known to cause mesothelioma, and whether certain other...

New Jersey Supreme Court Says Hypothetical Questions Can’t Save Expert Opinions that Contradict Uncontroverted Facts in Evidence

In Townsend v. Pierre, the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified that the net opinion rule bars expert testimony that contradicts uncontroverted factual evidence and further held that the use of hypothetical questions at trial cannot be used to salvage such an opinion. While the net opinion rule is usually formulated as “forbid[ding] the admission into evidence of an expert’s conclusions that are not supported by factual evidence or other data,” Polzo v. Cnty. of Essex, 196 N.J. 569, 583 (2008), the Court definitively stated that the rule also operates to bar expert testimony where the expert rejected as “mistaken” uncontroverted facts in evidence.

In Comcast, Supreme Court Reinforces Difficult Standard for Obtaining Class Certification

In its much-anticipated opinion in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, the United States Supreme Court continued its recent trend of requiring a more demanding standard for plaintiffs seeking class certification. Citing its notable opinion in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the Court made clear that district courts must conduct a rigorous analysis of plaintiffs’ evidence before certifying a proposed class, including addressing questions that ultimately bear on the merits.

The Patent Expert Pivot

Parties to patent infringement actions heavily rely on experts to explain their “case.” The finder of fact, whether judge or jury, often views them as detached guides who truly understand the often esoteric subject technology, or other issues, given the expert’s credentials. Patent issues such as infringement, claim construction, validity, enforceability and damages, which are critical to a case, may rise or fall on these experts. Accordingly, and despite their “expert” status, there is no shortage of considerations surrounding them.

Third Circuit Affirms Plaintiffs’ Zero-Damages Antitrust Victory, Restricting the Scope of What Constitutes “Reliable” Expert Damages Data

The Third Circuit’s 94-page opinion in antitrust case ZF Meritor, LLC v. Eaton Corp., issued on September 28, 2012, offers something for everyone in its smorgasbord of holdings concerning the law of exclusive dealing, proof of damages, and Article III standing. The opinion is most notable for rejecting the notion that above-cost prices can render an otherwise unlawful exclusive dealing agreement lawful, reinforcing the viability of de facto exclusive-dealing arrangements under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and ratcheting up the gatekeeper role courts play under Daubert.