In Defending Lead-Containing Toy Lawsuits, Ryan L. Nilson and Michael R. Carey explore ways to challenge plaintiffs’ lead poisoning expert witnesses in lead toy exposure litigation. They write:
Among United States toy manufacturers, lead content is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC regulations apply to everything from metal alloys used in toy jewelry to the paint that covers the toys themselves. But CPSC regulations do not apply to the manufacture of toys abroad. Nevertheless, domestic distributors and retailers remain liable under state product liability laws for the harmful effect of foreign-made products that they place into the stream of commerce.
Evidence of Exposures is Not Proof of Causation
Various factors affect proof of specific causation in lead-exposure cases, including exposure, absorption, pathway, and absorption rates. Loof for four things to attack plaintiff’s proof of specific causation. The first element of specific causation is actual exposure to lead. In lead, as in other toxin cases, exposure is a condtion precedent to causation. Exposure can be proven in a variety of ways. For example, blood tests can measure suspected lead exposure. When elevated levels of lead in the bloodstream are present, the plaintiff’s treating physician can testify to the lead levels found inthe plaintiff’s blood and the symptoms reported.
Excerpted from Defending Lead-Containing Toy Lawsuits Ryan L. Nilson and Michael R. Carey, For the Defense, February 2008.