On its face, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals was about as easy a case as the Supreme Court gets. The plaintiffs claimed that their birth defects 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 plaintiffs presented affidavits of eight expert witnesses who offered their opinions - 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 courts held that critical portions of the plaintiffs' 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 Larry Kramer, 234-279. Justice and Judicial Administration. New York: New York University Press, 1996.