Sunday, April 17, 2005

CA Supreme Court Grants Review in Lockheed Litigation Cases

We learn from press reports that on April 13, the California Supreme Court granted plaintiffs' request for review of the Court of Appeal's decision in Lockheed Litig. Cases, 126 Cal. App. 4th 271, 23 Cal. Rptr. 3d 762 (2d Dist. 2005).

The case is a mass tort action brought by workers allegedly injured by exposure to solvents. The Court of Appeal rejected the trial court's conclusion that evidence of causation should be inadmissible unless it showed an increased relative risk of greater than 2.0, but it also upheld the trial court's exclusion of the causation opinion offered by Dr. Daniel Teitelbaum. Dr. Teitelbaum is a toxicologist who testifies frequently as an expert witness, and whose opinions were among those at issue in General Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136 (1997).

The plaintiffs argued in the Court of Appeal, and will presumably argue before the California Supreme Court, that the trial court improperly weighed the evidence and subjected Dr. Teitelbaum's testimony to more searching scrutiny than is warranted or permissible under Cal. Evid. Code ยง 801(b) and the state's "Kelly/Frye" test. Stay tuned.


Fred Dawes writes ...

So the supreme court is saying evidence mean nothing?

2:05 PM  

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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.