February 26, 2020 Articles

New Jersey Adopts Daubert Factors for the Admissibility of Expert Testimony

A helpful reminder that practitioners should remain mindful of the evidence underlying expert opinions at all stages of a litigation.

By William D. Marsillo

Until the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in In re Accutane Litigation, 191 A.3d 560 (N.J. 2018), the standard governing the admissibility of expert scientific testimony under New Jersey law was as well established as it was unclear. In Accutane, the New Jersey Supreme Court adopted the use of Daubert factors for assessing the admissibility of expert testimony in civil cases. In the underlying multi-county litigation, the plaintiffs filed thousands of cases claiming that that use of the prescription acne drug Accutane (isotretinoin) caused inflammatory bowel disease in the form of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The state supreme court’s decision concerned the admissibility of the plaintiffs’ experts, Dr. Arthur Asher Kornbluth, a gastroenterologist, and Dr. David Madigan, a statistician. Dr. Kornbluth opined that there was a causal relationship between Accutane and Crohn’s disease and that epidemiological studies showing no causal connection, relied on by the defendants, were flawed. Dr. Madigan did not offer an opinion on causation, focusing solely on showing that the defendants’ epidemiological studies were flawed.

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