A Daubert motion: a legal strategy to exclude essential scientific evidence in toxic tort litigation.
- Ronald L Melnick
- American journal of public health
Following the Supreme Court's Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc decision, courts have struggled in reviewing scientific evidence and appear to have appreciated insufficiently the nature of scientific reasoning. To assist their evidentiary reviews, courts need to appreciate both scientific complexity and ignorance about human toxicity caused by the universe of chemical substances. Conscientious, well-motivated, respectable experts can come to different conclusions about scientific evidence without making obvious mistakes and without being charlatans. So that justice is done between parties, courts need to allow for reasonable scientific disagreement to avoid excluding from trials respectable experts and all relevant scientific evidence. The public health community can assist courts to understand ranges of scientific evidence and to recognize the reasonableness of scientific disagreements.