Saturday, January 31, 2004

The New York Times on John Edwards's Cerebral Palsy Cases

The nation's newspaper of record (Saturday edition) is now running a story on John Edwards's malpractice cases on behalf of children with cerebral palsy. Refreshingly, the Times story actually contains some facts about the cases. The story is not a hatchet job, but it is no hagiography either, and it does include a few details that may supply grist for Edwards's critics. In one case, for example, Edwards's associate interviewed 41 physicians before finding a local doctor who would fit the bill as an expert witness. But the defendant in that case was a highly regarded physician at a prestigious area teaching hospital, which probably made a number of candidates reluctant to testify. Edwards's overall spin is that he chose his cases carefully and prosecuted them with perseverence.

From the facts reported so far, there doesn't seem to be much by way of scandal here, unless it's scandalous, in itself, to be a talented and successful plaintiffs' lawyer.
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.