How is Expert Testimony Evaluated for Mass Tort Cases?

People injured by products and medications every day. With so many new drugs on the market, it’s hard to keep track of which ones are safe and which aren’t. As consumers and patients, we trust that our products are safe. We have no reason not to. We trust that our doctors wouldn’t prescribe a medication that could harm us. We also trust that a store wouldn’t sell us a product that could kill us. So, where have we gone wrong?

When it comes to mass tort litigation, trust is a big issue. The court doesn’t ask why we trusted our doctors and manufacturers. It’s okay for the defendants to lie to us and tell us half-truths. But, when it comes to your mass tort lawyers’ experts, they’re pretty strict.

In order to testify in your mass tort case, expert witnesses need to be vetted. The judge doesn’t want the jury to hear information unless they know it’s accurate. This is a bit ironic when you think about it.

Mass tort cases require scientific evidence to prove causation. For example, In the RoundUp cases, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the active ingredient in the weed killer causes cancer. The only way to do this is to have experts testify. No jury wants to hear the opinion of a non-expert. They want to hear it from the mouths of people who know what they’re talking about. The expert attorneys at Dalimonte Rueb Stoller know the requirements of experts looking to testify and do all they can to ensure that anyone put forward is indeed an expert.

In order to present your experts at trial, your mass tort attorneys have to get them approved. The court will use something called the Daubert Standard to do this. No expert will be allowed to testify until they’ve been examined at something called a Daubert hearing. These hearings do not take place in front of a jury. The court doesn’t want them to hear information before these experts are qualified.

What is the Daubert Standard

The Daubert Standard is a two-part test that judges use to evaluate expert witnesses. You have to pass both prongs of this test in order to testify in a mass tort case. The first test speaks to reliability. The court won’t let someone testify about information if he isn’t credible. His testimony has to be based on real, accepted science. It must also be accepted by most people in his field.

For example, in the talcum powder cases, the court won’t let someone testify about a study he conducted on his own. You have to use scientific procedures and conduct reliable tests before you can consider your results reliable. The judge will make sure your information is credible and reliable.

The second prong is about relevancy. The testimony has to be relevant. If it isn’t, the judge won’t let you testify. For example, in the Xeljanz litigation, the judge isn’t going to allow animal testing results be used to prove that the drug is dangerous to humans, Yes, it may be interesting and related. However, it isn’t immediately relevant.

How Does This Affect Your Expert Witness?

Mass tort lawyers rely on expert witnesses. There’s no other way to prove their cases. Most if not all of these cases are about science. You have to convince a jury that a drug causes cancer. Or, you have to show that a product is designed in an unsafe way. It takes engineers and medical professionals to testify as to these things.

The bottom line is, the Daubert Rule can be a double-edged sword. It helps you keep bad experts out of the courtroom. However, it can also be used by the defendant’s lawyers as a stall tactic.

Daubert hearings lend a sense of credibility to your expert witness. If the judge accepts your expert witness, the jury knows he is credible. The downside to the Daubert rule is that is can delay your case. Defense lawyers use Daubert hearings as a way to delay your case. Some of them do this to buy time to prepare. Others use it as a stall tactic to invite settlement negotiations.

Contact a Mass Tort Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured by a drug or product, you may have a case. You should contact us now and speak with a mass tort lawyer today. Your attorney can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. He can also find reliable and credible witnesses to testify on your behalf.  If you’re interested in learning more about what kind of injuries qualify for mass tort litigation, visit this page.

If you have any questions about the Daubert standard, call and speak with an experienced mass tort lawyer.