7th Circuit affirms tossing 'unreliable' testimony

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Terre Haute judge's decision in throwing out expert witness testimony relating to a product liability suit involving the prescription medication Remicade.

Judges ruled today in Mickey Ervin v. Johnson & Johnson, Inc. and Centocor, Inc., No. 06-2820, affirming a ruling by Judge John D. Tinder and ruling the court did not abuse its discretion.

The plaintiff, Ervin, had sued the companies on claims that the medication caused a blood clot that led to partial amputation of his leg. Ervin began taking the FDA-approved drug to treat his Crohn's disease. On the issue of causation, Ervin relied on his internist and critical care specialist for expert testimony, who testified that the drug was a contributing factor "to a reasonable degree of medical certainty."

Defendants moved to exclude plaintiff's expert testimony and filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted.

On appeal, the three-judge panel agreed and noted that the doctor had neither reliable basis for his expert opinion, such as epidemiological data supporting his opinion, nor any scientifically physiological explanation as to how Remicade would cause the clot.

"The mere existence of a temporal relationship between taking a medication and the onset of symptoms does not show a sufficient causal relationship," the court wrote.


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