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Published on May 12, 2010
Federal Judicial Center
Science in the Courtroom Program 6: Daubert Issues in Toxic Tort Cases
This sixth program in the FJC's Science in the Courtroom series focuses on issues judges are likely to encounter as they perform their Daubert gatekeeping duties in toxic tort cases involving epidemiology and toxicology evidence. Judge Fern M. Smith (N.D. Cal.), Director of the Federal Judicial Center, moderates a discussion with Judges Barbara Jacobs Rothstein (W.D. Wash.) and William W Schwarzer (N.D. Cal.) and attorneys Elisabeth Cabraser and Nathan Schachtman. The panelists use a hypothetical toxic tort case involving toxicology and epidemiology evidence as the springboard for their discussion. Topics covered include assessing the reliability of the scientific methodology used by an expert, assessing "fit" or relevance of proffered scientific evidence to the case, managing the Daubert inquiry, and performing judicial gatekeeping obligations under Daubert without usurping the jury's role as trier of fact and arbiter of credibility.