Daubert hearings are special court sessions where judges decide if the scientific reasoning behind an expert’s testimony is solid and can be trusted in a case.
Daubert hearings are crucial for mass torts because they help ensure that the scientific evidence presented by experts is reliable and valid.
In mass tort cases, where many people may be affected, the accuracy of expert testimony is vital in determining the outcome of the case.
If a Daubert hearing finds that an expert’s testimony is not based on solid scientific reasoning, it can significantly impact the plaintiffs’ claims and the overall outcome of the mass tort litigation.
In complex Mass Torts Plaintiffs are required to support their claims with expert testimony. If following a Daubert hearing the judge rules that an expert’s testimony is unreliable and inadmissible, the case is basically over.
Due to the enormous consequences a Daubert challenge can have, it is important for any practicing trial attorney to understand how to execute a Daubert challenge, when to do so, and strategies relating to the execution of such a challenge.
Let’s understand the What Daubert Motions, Hearings, and Rulings mean
Difference between Daubert Motions, Hearings, and Rulings are all components of a legal process related to the admissibility of expert testimony in a court case, particularly in the United States.
- Purpose: Daubert motions are formal requests made by either party (plaintiff or defendant) to the court. They ask the court to evaluate the admissibility of expert testimony.
- Content: These motions typically include arguments and evidence regarding whether the expert’s testimony meets the Daubert standard, which means it is based on sound scientific principles and methods.
- Timing: Daubert motions are filed before the trial begins, usually during the pre-trial phase, to request the court’s assessment of expert testimony in advance.
- Purpose: Daubert hearings are actual court proceedings where the judge listens to arguments and evidence from both sides regarding the admissibility of expert testimony.
- Content: During these hearings, the parties may present witnesses, cross-examine experts, and offer evidence related to the reliability and relevance of the expert’s opinions.
- Timing: Daubert hearings occur after Daubert motions have been filed. They provide an opportunity for the judge to make a more informed decision about the admissibility of the expert testimony.
- Daubert Rulings:
- Purpose: Daubert rulings are the final decisions issued by the judge regarding the admissibility of expert testimony.
- Content: The judge’s ruling will determine whether the expert’s testimony is admissible as evidence in the trial or whether it should be excluded.
- Timing: Daubert rulings are made by the judge following the Daubert hearing. If the judge rules that the testimony is admissible, the expert can testify in the trial. If the judge rules it inadmissible, the expert’s testimony is excluded.
In summary, Daubert motions are requests made to the court, Daubert hearings are court proceedings where arguments and evidence are presented, and Daubert rulings are the judge’s final decisions on whether the expert testimony is allowed in the trial. These processes help ensure that only scientifically valid and reliable expert testimony is presented in court.
A classic example of Daubert hearing is the Zantac MDL . The trial judge excluded all of Plaintiffs’ experts from testifying and essentially ended the MDL.
The Zantac Daubert hearings began in September 2022. In the Zantac litigation, the plaintiffs needed expert testimony to prove their claims that they developed cancer from NDMA in Zantac.
Eventually, after conducting a three-day “Daubert hearing,” Judge Robin Rosenberg dismissed the entire cadre of plaintiffs’ scientific evidence.
There will be a Daubert hearing in the Paraquat MDL that will determine the future of this Mass Tort in the next few weeks. Later this year, this will be a Daubert hearing in the Tylenol Mass Tort.
These hearings will shape the future of Mass Torts in 2024 and beyond.