Friday, February 06, 2004

10th Circuit Upholds Exclusion of Testimony that Zoloft Caused Suicide

The Tenth Circuit has published a decision upholding the trial court's exclusion of testimony from a neuropsychopharmacologist who opined that Zoloft caused a teen's suicide. The appellants' main argument on appeal was that the trial court did not sufficiently permit the expert to respond to critiques of his testimony. On first reading, our impression is that the opinion may confuse substantive testimony, as to which failures of pretrial disclosure may warrant preclusive sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c), with material offered to established admissibility under Fed. R. Evid. 104(a), to which no comparable disclosure requirements apply. We may have more to say about this opinion after more careful review. See Miller v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 02-3092 (10th Cir. Feb. 4, 2004) (Ebel, Anderson, & Hartz, JJ.).
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.