In immediately’s case, Chapman v. AstraZeneca, a Delaware state court docket granted abstract judgment to the defendant pharmaceutical producer after excluding the plaintiff’s causation skilled below Delaware Rule of Proof 702 as a result of the skilled’s opinion was not “acknowledged when it comes to medical chance.”
The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s proton pump inhibitor, a category of medicine used to deal with acid reflux disorder issues, brought on her to undergo persistent liver illness. To prevail, the plaintiff needed to current “proof of each common and particular causation.” Chapman v. AstraZeneca Pharms. LP, 2022 WL 4740721, at *1 (Del. Tremendous. Ct. 2022).
To ascertain particular causation, i.e., to show that the defendant’s drug not solely may cause persistent liver illness in precept however brought on her persistent liver illness specifically, the plaintiff supplied a medical skilled. The skilled opined that the plaintiff’s use of the defendant’s drug “might have contributed” and “might have contributed” to her persistent kidney illness.” 2022 WL 4740721, at *4. Arguing that the skilled’s opinion was “speculative,” the defendant moved to exclude it below Delaware Rule of Proof 702, which is worded equally to the identically numbered, soon-to-be-amended federal rule.
Below Delaware’s interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court docket’s Daubert choice, an skilled medical opinion will not be admissible until the court docket “decide[s]” that it’s “acknowledged when it comes to affordable medical chance or an inexpensive medical certainty.” 2022 WL 4740721, at *2 (quoting O’Riley v. Rogers, 69 A.3d 1007, 1011 (Del. 2013)).
The Chapman court docket discovered that the plaintiff’s skilled opinion didn’t fulfill this normal.
The court docket made clear that “[e]xpert witnesses should not have to explicitly use the phrases ‘affordable medical certainty,’ however the total summation of the opinion should lend itself to that conclusion.” 2022 WL 4740721, at *4. Thus, though “Delaware legislation gives for flexibility on the precise wording of skilled testimony,” the skilled’s “opinion should permit the Court docket to conclude that the skilled finds: (i) one choice extra possible or doubtless than the others; (ii) that, having weighed various elements or consulting materials from his subject, the skilled has eradicated different attainable causes; or (iii) that the various elements have led the skilled to suspect that this one issue is extra doubtless the reason for the difficulty than one other.” Id.
In Chapman, the skilled’s opinion—the plaintiff’s use of a proton pump inhibitor “might have contributed to her creating … persistent kidney illness”—was “too speculative to be admissible” below that normal. 2022 WL 4740721, at *5 (emphasis added). Though the opinion “rule[d] out some attainable causes” of the plaintiff’s illness, it “equivocate[d] as to … different [possible] causes.” Id. Certainly, the skilled “admit[ted] that he finds it “unimaginable to discern if one specific agent was extra doubtless than one other to have brought on” plaintiff’s illness. Id. Briefly, the court docket held that the skilled’s causation opinion was inadmissible as a result of it was “acknowledged when it comes to chance and never chance.”
Having excluded plaintiff’s skilled, the court docket granted the defendant abstract judgment as a result of the plaintiff couldn’t carry her burden absent admissible proof of particular causation.
A pleasant little win to start out the week.
This text was written by Andrew Tauber of Winston & Strawn LLP