Monsanto MDL Judge Slams Experts’ ‘Low Quality’ Opinions
Law360 | By Dorothy Atkins
A California federal judge Wednesday criticized the “low quality” of opinions offered by several plaintiffs’ expert witnesses proposed for an upcoming bellwether trial over multidistrict allegations that Monsanto’s Roundup caused cancer, saying the witnesses’ evidence is weak but that may not be enough to prevent their testifying.
During a daylong pretrial hearing in San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria questioned the credibility of the plaintiffs’ specific causation experts, particularly as their testimony relates to plaintiff Edward Hardeman, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. The judge, however, said it’s not clear that their opinions fall “so far outside the range of acceptable possible opinions” that he should exclude them based on Ninth Circuit precedent.
“When you [consider] Ninth Circuit law, you come away with a pretty strong feeling that the Ninth Circuit is more tolerant of shaky expert opinions than other circuits,” Judge Chhabria said. “The Ninth Circuit ties trial judges’ hands more tightly than [others].”