The Round-Up MDL Court issued an important ruling yesterday. Plaintiffs survived the Defendant’s motion to prevent Plaintiffs’ experts from testifying.
Named after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, these notions are called Daubert motions. The attorneys at KBA have won these motions on both sides – excluding defendants’ experts while protecting plaintiffs’. In the Roundup litigation, the motions had to do with causation.
The experts at issue will provide necessary testimony at trial to support the general causation element of Plaintiffs’ claims. All claims require establishing general causation by a preponderance of the evidence.
General causation basically means showing that, more likely than not, the product can cause certain injuries. Experts examine medical literature, scientific data, and other information to determine whether a product can cause certain injuries. In product liability cases, plaintiffs must prove that there is sufficient admissible evidence that a product can injure people. If they can do that, then they have to prove the product did, in fact, cause their specific injuries.
In the Roundup litigation, the question is “whether a reasonable jury could conclude that glyphosate, a commonly used herbicide, can cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (“NHL”) at exposure levels people realistically may have experienced.” Or. at 1. Having survived the Defendant’s motion, the Roundup Plaintiffs move to the second phase.
That second phase of causation is called specific causation. Experts examine each plaintiff’s medical records and, in some cases, conduct an examination to conclude that individual’s injuries were more likely than not caused by the product at issue. In most states of not all of them, the product must be a cause, not necessarily the only cause. They sometimes do this by ruling out other causes, a deductive process called a differential diagnosis. If you remember the TV show House, the doctors on it were experts at differential diagnoses.
The Plaintiffs in the Roundup litigation now get to do that – move to the next phase of litigation and try to prove specific causation. This is a good day for Plaintiffs in the Roundup litigation and others who believe they may have been injured as a result of exposure to it.
In other news, there is a separate lawsuit filed in the San Francisco Superior Court. The trial has just begun there and the plaintiff claims Monsanto hid evidence that the active ingredient, glyphosate, in Roundup causes cancer. The plaintiff was diagnosed 4 years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.