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“A New Tool for Restoring Sound Science in the Courtroom,” Today’s General Counsel

publication | February 2, 2024

Today’s General Counsel published an article written by Hollingsworth LLP partner Eric Lasker regarding amendments to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and their potential impact for restoring sound science to the courtroom.

In the business community proper application of the scientific method is essential. Although private litigation once played an important role in improving public health and the environment, for the last few decades plaintiff attorneys have been securing enormous payouts by filing mass toxic tort, products liability and environmental lawsuits based on scientific hypotheses that cannot be validated.

The United States Supreme Court sought to stem this tide through the Daubert trilogy. The U.S. Judicial Conference amended Federal Rule of Evidence 702 to codify a more rigorous and structured approach for determining the admissibility of expert testimony. Yet, plaintiffs’ attorneys chipped away at these evidentiary protections, often relying on cases that pre-dated the 2000 amendments to Rule 702 or even the Daubert opinion itself.

In the December 2023 amendment of Rule 702, the Committee steered the courts back toward sound science. However, history tells us to expect renewed pushback from the plaintiffs’ bar and recalcitrance from courts. Businesses and advocates of sound science must remain vigilant, fully understanding and explaining the amended Rule to ensure that the plaintiffs’ bar is guided in the future by the same standard of scientific knowledge that governs and improves the rest of society.

Read the article.