Posts Tagged ‘procedure’


It’s the tenth anniversary (plus four days) of the Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals opinion that limited in federal trials the use of expert testimony that is not scientifically reliable. Peter Nordberg’s Daubert on the Web is one of the more comprehensive sites on the web on any subject; he has started a blog that promises to be fascinating.

Along with recent Supreme Court jurisprudence on punitive damages in cases such as BMW v. Gore and the expansion of interlocutory review of class action certification, Daubert has been one of the few brakes on the expansion of tort liability in the last ten years. As my former Brandeis colleague and GMU Law professor David Bernstein points out, however, Daubert did not stop the use of junk science to extract billions from breast implant manufacturers, and now some of that money is being used to fund efforts to weaken Daubert.

Misguided search for a sanitized jury

The “legal defense team for Lee Boyd Malvo, the young suspect in last fall’s Washington-area sniper attacks, is seeking a change of venue from Fairfax County. It contends that all potential jurors in the county were victims of the terror spread by the sniper attacks and that jurors contaminated by news coverage make a fair trial impossible. … But impartiality only means without bias. It does not mean without knowledge. The courts have long recognized that jurors can set aside what they might know about a case, and that it’s preferable to have jurors who are tuned into the world around them than ones who are hermits.” (Charles H. Whitebread, “Jurors Must Be Impartial. They Shouldn’t Be Clueless”, Washington Post, Jun. 22).