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Showing 22 posts in Causation. View our practice description for Causation.

California Appellate Court Upholds “Every Exposure” Theory

Deferring to the role of a jury in resolving questions of competing scientific theories, a California appeals court upheld a trial court’s ruling allowing expert testimony based on the “every exposure” theory, calling it “the subject of legitimate scientific debate.”  See Davis v. Honeywell Int’l Inc., 199 Cal.Rptr.3d 583 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016). Read More ›

Fifth Circuit Affirms Exclusion of Expert Testimony Tying Gasoline to AML

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a trial court’s decision to exclude expert testimony that exposure to gasoline caused acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) in a former gas station attendant and mechanic, highlighting the importance of the distinction between a product and its component parts in exposure cases.  See Burst v. Shell Oil Co., 2016 WL 2989261 (5th Cir. May 23, 2016).  (Our prior coverage of the trial court ruling is available here.) Read More ›

Union Carbide Corp. Not Liable for Property Damage From 1984 Bhopal Leak

In the most recent case stemming from the 1984 chemical plant leak in Bhopal, India, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit further clarified the circumstances in which an entity other than the owner or operator of a site may be liable at common law for a chemical release at that site.  See Sahu v. Union Carbide Corporation, No. 14-3087-cv (2d Cir. May 24, 2016).  Plaintiffs claimed property damage from leaks from a waste storage facility at the Union Carbide India Limited (“UCIL”) plant in Bhopal, and sued Union Carbide Corporation (“UCC”), a majority stockholder in UCIL, for nuisance, trespass, strict liability, and negligence. Read More ›

New York Court Dismisses Chemical Sensitivity Claims for Lack of Causation

Illustrating the difficulty in pursuing a multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) claim, a New York appeals court upheld dismissal of Plaintiff’s toxic tort claim because he failed to establish a causal link between chemical exposure and his symptoms. See Abrams v. Related, L.P., 2016 BL 91070 (N.Y. App. Div. March 24, 2016). Read More ›

Maryland Court of Appeals OKs Circumstantial Causation Evidence in Lead Paint Cases

In a case that may make it easier to prove causation in Maryland lead paint cases, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that neither direct evidence of the source of lead nor expert testimony was necessary when a trier of fact had sufficient circumstantial evidence to conclude that the subject property was the “reasonable probable” source of lead exposure.  See Rowhouses, Inc. v. Smith, 133 A.3d 1054 (Md. 2016) Read More ›

Expert’s Specific Causation Methodology Unreliable in Leukemia Row

In a case underscoring the importance of reliable methodologies in expert testimony, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a trial court decision excluding specific causation testimony linking benzene exposure and acute promyelocytic leukemia (“APL”) because the expert could not properly support her conclusions.  See Milward v. Rust-Oleum Corp., No. 13-2132, 2016 WL 1622620 (1st Cir. Apr. 25, 2016). Read More ›

Sixth Circuit Requires Expert Testimony to Prove Causation in Paper Mill Nuisance Case

Bolstering the defense view that competent expert testimony is typically required to prove causation in toxic tort actions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted summary judgment dismissing property owners’ claims that the Defendant paper mill’s effluent interfered with their right to use and enjoy property. See Freeman v. Blue Ridge Paper Prods., No. 12-6259 (6th Cir. July 9, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/FreemanvBlueRidgePaper.pdf. The court affirmed a district court’s ruling that lay testimony of causation was insufficient to survive summary judgment in this case. Freeman, slip op., at 9-11. Read More ›

Maryland High Court Allows “Every Exposure” Testimony in Asbestos Case

Overturning what some commentators had considered a leading opinion rejecting the so-called “any exposure” theory, Maryland’s highest court ruled that an expert may testify that “every exposure to asbestos is a substantial contributing cause” of mesothelioma. Dixon v. Ford Motor Co., 433 Md. 137 (2013), www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/DixonvFord.pdf. Read More ›

Iowa Supreme Court Strikes “Exposure Estimate” Testimony in Pesticide Suit

Striking a blow to toxic tort plaintiffs who rely on estimates, as opposed to actual data, the Iowa Court of Appeals found that expert testimony relying on such “exposure estimates” was insufficient to prove causation of birth injuries associated with use of a pesticide. See Junk v. Obrecht, No. 3-454 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 5, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/JunkvObrecht.pdf. Read More ›

California Trial Court Rejects Defense Argument That State Must Establish Locations with Specificity in Statewide Lead Paint Suit

Refusing to require plaintiffs in a state-wide action to identify specific sites at issue, a California Superior Court judge denied summary judgment to certain paint manufacturers in a pending nuisance action for abatement of lead-based paint in homes and buildings throughout the State of California. California v. Atlantic Richfield Co., No. 1-00-CV-788657 (Cal. Sup. Ct., Santa Clara Co., May 31, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Atlantic%20Richfield.pdfRead More ›