Friday, August 26, 2005

Toxic French Fries and the Lone Star State

It is sometimes contended that toxic tort plaintiffs should recover damages for their personal injuries only if they can show that exposure to some tortiously inflicted bodily insult more than doubled their antecedent risk of disease. Justice Priscilla Owen, for example, was persuaded to essentially this view in Merrell Dow Pharms. v. Havner, 953 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1997).

It is a standard that would doom the claims of many toxic tort claimants. But according to a new study, breast cancer victims who consumed more than four weekly helpings of french fries during their childhoods might have a shot.

Update 8/28/05: Is it the acrylamides? California is on the case.
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.