Sixth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Three Cases for Firm Client Novartis

August 23, 2011

In 2011, the Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Novartis in three cases, in which plaintiffs had no retained experts on the subject of specific causation, i.e., did Aredia and/or Zometa cause plaintiffs to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw. Instead, they sought to rely upon the testimony of treating physicians to meet their burden.

The district court held that none of the treating physicians was qualified to opine on this issue and granted summary judgment for Novartis in all three cases. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court had not abused its discretion in excluding these witnesses on the issue of causation. The appeals court held that in addition to the purported experts’ disavowal of expertise on the subject at issue, plaintiffs had not met their burden to show that the treaters possessed the requisite qualifications to opine on causation.

Thomas, Melau, and Anderson v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 443 F. App’x 58 (6th Cir. 2011).