Expert Article Library

Doctor's Opinion Not Enough for Causation of Liver Damage by Drug

Case Name: Ruggiero v. Warner Lambert Company (Click here for the full text of the case)

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Date: September 16, 2005

Expert: Medical Expert. Dr. Douglas T. Dietrich.

Issues: Is the testimony of a doctor regarding the causation of liver failure of plaintiff admissible?

Summary of case: Brought on behalf of her husband’s estate, Plaintiff claims that the drug Rezulin, a drug for diabetes, caused the cirrhosis of liver and his subsequent death.

Role of the expert: Dr. Dietrich stated that Rezulin was the probable cause of the Plaintiff’s liver failure and death. Dietrich’s testimony was differential diagnosis – a method of eliminating possibilities in order to come to a diagnosis.

Challenges to the Expert's testimony: Defendant objected to the testimony because the expert failed to demonstrate that Rezulin was the cause of Plaintiff’s death. The court excluded the testimony and granted summary judgment for defendant because there was no independent study or other independent evidence to support the expert’s testimony.

Summary prepared by Christopher P. Stafford, Student, Golden Gate University, School of Law