August 31, 2011 Articles

Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano: Its Effect on Causation Evidence in Products Liability Cases

By Scott Elder and Travis Thompson

The securities case of Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano, 131 S. Ct. 1309 (2011), may be front and center in your next battle over statistically significant causation evidence, but don't let plaintiffs overstate its impact.

The Crux of Plaintiffs' Necessary Evidence of Causation
In almost any tort case, the merit of a plaintiff's claim often turns on whether the plaintiff can provide sufficient evidence that the defendant's actions caused the plaintiff's injuries. This is especially true in pharmaceutical cases that involve alleged injuries from unintended and unknown side effects of the plaintiff's medications. Causation evidence in such cases often involves adverse event reports as well as clinical trial and other epidemiologic evidence with varying degrees of statistical significance. Because of one recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving securities law, courts now may approach adverse event reports and statistical significance in scientific data in products liability and pharmaceutical lawsuits differently.

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