Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quantum Indeterminacy in Extra Innings

From the AP report on tonight's 12-6 win by the Red Sox over Tampa Bay:

"Kyle Snyder (2-2) scattered one hit over two innings for the win."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mississippi Supreme Court Unimpressed with Social Worker's Reliance on "Instinct"

The Supreme Court of Mississippi has faulted the trial court for giving even slight weight to testimony from a social worker in a custody dispute, when the testimony should have been excluded altogether. Asked to describe the basis of her custody recommendation, the social worker testified as follows:
A. What [the child] told me and how she behaved in therapy.

Q. Is there any recognized textbooks or science with regard to how you would reach your conclusion or recommendation?

A. There is no exact science in psychology. There's a lot of experimental science, but as far as reaching conclusions, a lot of it you go to training, instinct, and -- mostly training.
"There is no evidence," the high court said in its opinion, "that [the social worker's] opinion was either 'based upon sufficient facts or data' or 'the product of reliable principles and methods.'" See Giannaris v. Giannaris, No. 2005-CT-00498-SCT (Miss. July 19, 2007).


Thursday, July 19, 2007

3d Circuit Upholds Exclusion of Appraiser's Opinion

In a case involving groundwater contamination from leaking storage tanks at a New Jersey gas station, the Third Circuit has issued an opinion upholding the trial court's exclusion of an appraiser's testimony on the effects of the contamination on nearby property values. The trial court permissibly found that the appraiser's analysis suffered from multiple methodological deficiencies. The opinion is non-precedential. See Player v. Motiva Enters., LLC, No. 06-1663 (3d Cir. July 13, 2007) (Rendell, Jordan, & Hardiman, JJ.).


Friday, July 13, 2007

"Medical Justice" Watch -- Day 1

After looking at the piece in yesterday's WSJ, we've sent an e-mail to the folks at "Medical Justice," asking for a copy of the organization's "patient-physician contract" -- under which patients are asked to agree, as a condition of treatment, that they will rely, in any future malpractice claim, only on experts who "belong to [certain medical societies] and who strictly follow their code of ethics."

No response so far. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 06, 2007

7th Circuit Upholds Experts' Estimates of Drywall Workers' Rates, Productivity

In a suit involving pension benefits, a Seventh Circuit panel has upheld the experience-based testimony of experts who estimated the rates and productivity of drywall workers. See Trs. of the Chicago Painters & Decorators Pension v. Royal Int'l Drywall & Decorating, Inc., No. 06-2367 (7th Cir. July 3, 2007) (Bauer, Manion, & Rovner, 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.