Thursday, January 10, 2008
Blinded Me With Science, Take 2: New York Justice Finds Expert Evidence Against Merck Unreliable And Inadmissible
Earlier, I blogged about the lawsuit by thousands of individuals who suffered heart attacks, strokes, or other adverse cardiovascular events (or who had relatives suffer the same) against Celebrex-maker Phizer and Vioxx-maker Merck. As I noted, the plaintiffs' claims against Pfizer were subsequently consolidated in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California in San Francisco, which caused devastating damage to their cases by excluding certain expert evidence that they sought to introduce because it failed to meet the test for reliability laid out in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
Well, the plaintiffs' claims against Merck were consolidated in state court in New York, and yesterday Justice Shirley Kornreich similarly determined that much of the plaintiff's expert evidence was inadmissible because it was unreliable. It should be noted, though, that New York courts have refused to adopt the test for reliability laid out in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and that Justice Kornreich's decision was thus based upon the Frye test, under which expert evidence is reliable and thus admissible only if it has general acceptance in the relevant scientific community. I haven't gotten my hands on Justice Kornreich's decision yet, but I will likely have more comments on it once I do.