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Showing posts from March, 2007

Throwing Out Good Science in the Name of Profits

Bringing a lawsuit against a corporation for a defective product or toxic chemical has always been difficult--at the very least, a consumer and her lawyers are David against the Goliath corporation.

In order to prove a product caused an injury requires many experts trained in the relevant scientific fields. Yet, it's not good enough just to have the number one expert in a field--you've got to have other experts, research, studies and the smoking gun documents from the corporation you are suing (assuming no shredding was done) to prove your case. In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled that courts, i.e. judges, would be the gatekeepers of determing what is science and what is not. This was the seminal Daubert v. Merrell Dow case. Since then, some courts have taken Daubert, and made the rules even more stringent--all to the detriment of consumers with valid cases.

Barry Yeoman of The Nationhas a well-written pieceon the real world effects that Daubert and its progeny have had on hurting …