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Unformatted text preview: Ch1. Why We Have Law
Management of Disputes Legal Reading Case: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical Court: United States District Court, Southern District California Lesson: One reason we have law is to manage factual disputes Facts Leading to the Case After Joyce Daubert was informed she was pregnant, both her obstetrician/gynecologist and family physician prescribed Bendectin to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with her pregnancy Facts Leading to the Case When Mrs. Daubert first ingested Bendectin, she was approximately 3441 days into her pregnancy. This is precisely within the period conceded by Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as the time when the limb buds in the embryo commence formation Facts Leading to the Case Mrs. Daubert gave birth to plaintiff Jason Daubert with a limbreduction defect of his arm and hand The Legal Claim The Dauberts sued Merrell Dow and Dow Chemical (hereafter Dow) alleging strict liability Strict Liability refers to an absolute duty one party owes to another in order to protect their saftey It does not depend on: Negligence (failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in that situation), or Intent to harm The Issue of the Case So why should Dow be "strictly liable" for selling Bendectin? They should be "strictly liable" if they knew, or reasonably should have known, that Bendectin had dangerous propensities, and if they did not provide warnings Dauberts believed that they could prove the above and asked the court for Summary Judgment Summary judgment is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case, and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law So was there a legitimate dispute over whether Dow knew or should have known of the problems with Bendectin? Dow says they never knew because they did two studies that did not show harmful effects Dow conducted two studies on the effects of Bendectin to support its position The two tests were: The "Staples/Carl" test: an animal test The "Bunde-Bowles" study: a human study Dauberts claim that these tests were self-serving and worthless Facts the Dauberts Allege As early as November 1962, Dow began receiving information suggesting a relationship between Bendectin and limb defects Facts the Dauberts Allege By September 1973, Dow received notice of the 96 cases of congenital malformations occurring in association with the use of Bendectin Facts the Dauberts Allege Dauberts then tried to discredit the two studies The "Staples/Carl" Test The rats and rabbits were given up to 60 times the usual dose of Bendectin The rats produced no offspring with malformations BUT The rabbits demonstrated a teratogenic (i.e., relating to or causing malformations of an embryo or fetus) potential for Bendectin The "Staples/Carl" Test The Dauberts contend the Staples/Carl results showed a significant relationship between Bendectin and congenital malformations, yet they were never reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or to the public The "BundeBowles" Study Patients given Bendectin during their first trimester of pregnancy (the Experimental Group) were to be compared with patients who were to give birth within the same period of time but who did not receive the drug (the Control Group) The results showed no relationship between Bendectin and congenital malformations The "BundeBowles" Study BUT the Dauberts claim the study was plagued with unscientific procedures and inaccuracies: Some patients were administered Bendectin, yet the data used in the study claimed they received none Some patients were documented as receiving Bendectin but they received the drug when exposure was irrelevant The Dauberts' Argument If the studies were properly conducted and the true facts researched more thoroughly, Dow would have known of the relationship between Bendectin and congenital deformities = The Dauberts' Argument The Staples/Carl test gave Dow knowledge about the problem or at least a basis to inquire further By not following up on the Staples/Carl test, and alerting the public, doctors, and the FDA of the findings, Dow failed to adequately warn consumers of the foreseeable dangers associated with Bendectin Dow's Argument They tested the drug and found no correlation between Bendectin and congenital malformations = Court's Conclusion Whether Dow should have known that the drug was dangerous, and thus whether they should have placed warnings on the drug, is a factual dispute that must be determined by the trieroffact Trieroffact = the jury when there is one, or the judge when there is no jury Court's Conclusion When there is a dispute as to the facts in the case, Summary Judgment should not be given I ssues to Consider A dispute is a disagreement among two or more parties about an issue A factual dispute is a dispute revolving around what are the accurate facts Q: Why are facts so important to the resolution of legal disputes? What are the ways to prove facts? Lay observation of physical events Documentation Expert opinion about the existence of facts or the causes of those facts Scientific research results that prove the existence of facts or the causes for facts Q: Which of the 4 ways is best for determining accurate facts? Q: Which of the 4 ways is best for proving the facts in court? Q: How do facts relate to the law in a case? The jury (e.g., the trier of fact) is responsible for weighing the case facts in light of the controlling law to reach a decision ...
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- Spring '07