Wendell v. GlaxoSmithKline

Plaintiff’s experts on the issue of whether defendant’s drug had caused a rare blood cancer should not have been excluded under Daubert, since the experts were highly qualified doctors who based their opinions on their experience with this and similar diseases, medical literature, and similar proper material.  In this case, plaintiff’s decedent contracted a rare blood cancer, allegedly from having been treated for inflammatory bowel syndrome with drugs the defendant manufactured.  The district court erred in granting the defendants summary judgment based on exclusion of plaintiff’s experts’ testimony under Daubert.  The experts were highly qualified doctors.  They based their opinions on their experience with this and similar diseases, medical literature, and similar proper material.  They did not have to have conducted independent research into the rare disease, have published or be able to publish scientific, peer-reviewed articles about it, or have animal tests to rely on.  All of those factors may enhance reliability of the testimony, but they are not required, particularly in the case of a rare disease.  Also, the experts did not have to rule out all other causes of the disease, but merely opine that the drugs were a substantial factor in causing it.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Gould, J.); June 2, 2017; 2017 WL 2381122

 

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