On Aug. 26, 2015, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the exclusion of three expert witnesses who proffered opinions based on differential etiology as unreliable, but noted that “there may be a case where a rigorous differential etiology is sufficient to help prove, if not prove altogether both general and specific causation.” C.W. v. Textron, Inc., No. 14-3448 (7th Cir. Aug. 25, 2015). In C.W., the plaintiffs alleged that Textron, which operated a fastener manufacturing plant, released vinyl chloride, contaminating the groundwater in neighboring residential wells, including that of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs brought claims against Textron for negligence, negligence per se, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, alleging that their two young children were exposed to the vinyl chloride, which caused illness and substantially increased their risk of cancer and other illnesses.

To support their claims, the plaintiffs proffered the testimony of three expert witnesses who opined that the children’s exposure to vinyl chloride caused illnesses and increased their risk of cancer. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, applying Daubert, excluded the testimony of the three experts, which relied on differential etiology, as not sufficiently reliable because the experts had failed to connect the dots between the available scientific studies and the illnesses endured by the children. In excluding the experts, the court found that their analysis required too great of an analytical gap between the scientific studies cited by the experts and their opinions that exposure to vinyl chloride at the doses and duration present could cause the problems that plaintiffs claim to have experienced or are likely to experience.Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Recognizes Availability of Differential Etiology to Prove Both General and Specific Causation

Prepared by James Mattesich, Justin Prochnow, Anthony Cortez and Greg Sperla.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced on March 7, 2014 that it
Continue Reading California Proposes Enhanced Prop. 65 Warnings and Possible Online Disclosures – Dietary Supplements and Foods Specially Targeted

TreesOn October 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a revised version of its “Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims,” better known to many as the “Green Guides,”
Continue Reading FTC Chops ‘Green’ Plastic Lumber Claims and Diaper Claims That Fail to ‘Pass the Smell Test’

The FDA caused quite a stir this morning by announcing proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts information required for packaged foods and dietary supplements. These changes reflect the first significant changes in the 20 years since nutrition information was first required to be placed on labels in the form of a Nutrition Facts panel or Supplement Facts panel (changes to include trans fats information were initiated in 2006.) First Lady Michelle Obama and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. both trumpeted the updates as important changes that will allow consumers to make healthier food choices.
Continue Reading Don’t Go Changing to Try and Please Me…