On its face, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals was about as easy a case as the Supreme Court gets. The plaintiff claimed that their birth defect were caused by the anti-nausea drug Bendectin, which their mothers had used during their gestation. In response to a motion for summary judgment by the defendant, the plaintiff presented affidavits of eight expert witnesses who offered their opinion - based on a variety of studies- that Bendectin was indeed the culprit. The federal district court that heard the motion granted summary judgment to the defendant, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Both lower court held that critical portions of the plaintiff ' evidence were inadmissible, and that without that evidence the plaintiffs had not met their burden of producing sufficient evidence to present a genuine factual dispute. The first holding - that this expert evidence was inadmissible - was the sole issue in the Supreme Court.
Publication Information & Recommended Citation
Gross, Samuel R. "Substance and Form in Scientific Evidence: What Daubert Didn't Do." In Reforming the Civil Justice System, edited by L. Kramer, 234-79. New York: New York Univ. Press, 1996.