Scientific Evidence in Environmental Litigation

Vol. 30 No. 3


Mr. Sali has his own legal practice in Portland, Oregon. He may be reached at

Scientific evidence is often the centerpiece of an environmental case, as it can be the most powerful evidence of a defendant’s conduct and its effects. It can also be some of the most controversial evidence in such a case; in both governmental and private litigation, scientific evidence and the conclusions drawn from it tend to be hotly contested. Add in the high degree of deference often given to expert witnesses by judges and jurors and the lack of comfort some lawyers have in working with this type of evidence, and it is easy to see how the scientific battlefield can present some of the greatest challenges in environmental litigation.

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