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May 16, 2016

Rickard: Missouri Has Opportunity to Raise Expert Evidence Standards

Missouri’s “low standard” for expert evidence in civil justice cases allowed a “star witness” to offer a hypothesis on the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer — despite there having “never been a scientifically proven link between talc and cancer,” writes ILR President Lisa A. Rickard in the Springfield (MO) News-Leader.

“Missouri’s low standard allowed the expert to testify,” she writes. “The jury was persuaded. And health products company Johnson & Johnson paid $55 million to a woman claiming their product caused her ovarian cancer.”

Rickard writes that the state could fix its standards on scientific studies, data, and expert testimony, which are currently one of the weakest in the nation, if Governor Nixon signs SB 591 — a measure that would require Missouri courts to adopt the more rigorous “Daubert Standard” for expert evidence.

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