Quoted from http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202439302978
Judge Rules in Favor of Plaintiffs' Experts in Hormone Replacement Therapy Cases
The experts are slated to testify in trials starting today and Monday
The Legal Intelligencer
January 21, 2010
A Philadelphia judge has ruled that the scientific methodologies used by key plaintiffs' expert witnesses in the 1,500 cases pending in the hormone replacement therapy mass tort litigation are not novel and are admissible in court.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Sandra Mazer Moss ruled from the bench against a defense motion Wednesday. Moss said she was ruling from the bench because the experts are slated to testify in trials starting today and Monday in which plaintiffs allege their breast cancer was caused by drugs manufactured by Pfizer or other defendants.
Defense witnesses testified Wednesday that the methodology of the plaintiffs' experts is flawed because other possible causes for plaintiffs' breast cancer besides their ingestion of HRT, or combination estrogen-progesterone, drugs can't be ruled out.
The defense was challenging the differential diagnosis methodology used by plaintiffs' expert witnesses, including Dr. Elizabeth Naftalis, a breast surgeon from Dallas, to evaluate whether they think HRT was a substantial factor in causing a plaintiff's cancer.
According to both plaintiff and defense witness testimony during the hearing, differential diagnosis is a common practice of deductive reasoning in medicine and is used to rule out multiple possible causes of patients' symptoms.
"I am not convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that differential diagnosis ... is novel science," Moss said. "I have gone back over this and over this ... and I'm denying your motion."
Moss said her "feeling" is that the difference of opinion regarding the differential diagnosis methodology employed by the plaintiffs' experts revolves around the weight that a fact-finder should give to those experts' testimonial evidence, not whether or not that evidence is admissible.
Moss' decision is a global ruling for all the cases in the Philadelphia HRT litigation, except for a subset of cases involving a group of smaller defendants besides drugmakers Wyeth and Upjohn. Wyeth and Upjohn are now owned by Pfizer.