Daubert V. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Lawsuit

Daubert V. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Lawsuit       The Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals lawsuit is a historical one. This case has had a lot of effect on similar cases and has changed the way the legal system looks at expert witnesses.

      The Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical case took place in 1993 and it applied the rules governing expert witness testimony to allow admission of scientific evidence at trials held at federal courts. The rules governing expert witness testimony is established by the Federal Rules of Evidence, and it allows the trial judge to determine whether the evidence given by the expert witness is scientifically relevant to the case and whether it is valid.

      Jason Daubert and Eric Schuller were both born with serious birth defects. They along with their parents sued Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company. They claimed that the drug Bendectin was instrumental in causing the birth defects.

       Merrell Dow moved the case to federal court and pushed for summary judgment because their expert witness had submitted documents presenting that no scientific study showed a link between Bendectin and birth defects. Daubert and Schuller also had an expert witness testimony that suggested that Bendectin could cause birth defects. However, this evidence was based on in-vitro and in-vivo animal studies, pharmacological studies and reanalysis of published studies. And, these had still not gained acceptance in the scientific community.

       The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Merrell Dow, and this resulted in Daubert and Schuller appealing in the Ninth Circuit, which found the summary judgment granted by district court to be correct. The Ninth Circuit also felt that the plaintiffs has generated evidence just for litigation and without that they could not proved at the trial the Bendectin had caused the birth defects. The case was taken to Supreme Court, where again the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendant.

        After Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals lawsuit, expert testimony was made more stringent as it could make or break a lawsuit. Now, the Federal Rules of Evidence has been adopted by all federal courts and most of the state courts.

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Daubert V. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Lawsuit