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Superior Court Finds that Plaintiffs' Medical and Scientific Evidence that Exposure to Automotive Friction Products Increases the Risk of Contracting an Asbestos-related Disease is Sufficiently Reliable Under the Daubert Test

Posted In Toxic Torts
In re Asbestos Litigation, C.A. No. 77C-ASB-2, 2006 WL 1231123 (Del. Super. Ct. May 9, 2006). DaimlerChrysler Corporation ("Chrysler") moved in limine to exclude plaintiffs' friction products (ie. brake and clutch products) causation expert witnesses as unreliable under the Daubert standard. The Court denied Chrysler's motion. Plaintiffs' experts opined that exposure to friction products increases the risk of asbestos related diseases. In its motion, Chrysler challenged the methodology used by the experts. Specifically, Chrysler focused on the failure of plaintiffs' experts to account for epidemiological evidence that does not show an increase in risk to asbestos related diseases from exposure to friction products. First, the court determined that it was the plaintiffs' burden to prove that their experts were reliable. Next, the court found that Plaintiffs' experts showed a sufficient link, based on reliable science, between the asbestos in friction products and an increased risk to develop mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Furthermore, the court held that plaintiffs' experts were not required to use epidemiological evidence for their testimony to be admissible. Finally, the court found that Chrysler's epidemiological expert's testimony that there was no link between friction products and asbestos-related diseases did not "trump" plaintiffs' experts. Accordingly, the court denied Chrysler's motion in limine. Authored by: Jason C. Jowers 302-888-6860 jjowers@morrisjames.com