Biochemistry Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiff sued defendant for false and misleading statements about the effects of Prevagen.  The plaintiff hired a biochemistry expert witness to help prove the case and the motion to exclude this expert wad denied.

Facts:  This case (Racies v. Quincy Bioscience – United States District Court – Northern District of California – September 30th, 2016) involves a consumer class action case in which the plaintiff (Racies) alleges that the defendant (Quincy) make false, misleading, and deceptive statements about their brain supplement, Prevagen.  The plaintiff argues that Prevagen does not improve brain function or memory because the only active ingredient, apaequorin (AQ), is destroyed and cannot have an effect of the brain in the way that is purported.  In order to help prove it’s case, Racies hired Dr. Richard T. Bazinet (Biochemistry Expert Witnesses).  Quincy then filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Bazinet.

Discussion: Quincy, in their motion, makes three arguments as to why Dr. Bazinet’s opinion should be excluded: 1) He does not have the relevant experience to provide an opinion on protein digestion and absorption in the human body; 2) At his deposition, he testified that AQ would be digested into small peptides and amino acids; and 3) He did not conduct any testing to find out how AQ is digested in the body of consumer.

Racies replied that Dr. Bazinet is highly qualified in the field of protein digestion and absorption, which are the relevant issues in this case, that the defendants claim about AQ breaking down into peptides was an attempt at bait and switch.

The court first turned to the issue of qualifications.  Quincy points to Dr. Bazinet’s testimony that he specializes in fatty acids and lipids, not protein digestion.  The court opined that Dr. Bazinet testified that he sometimes uses the theories and concepts associated with protein digestion in his research and has conducted research on protein digestion in the past.  The court finds that Dr. Bazinet is qualified to testify on the issues in this case.

Quincy also argues that Dr. Bazinet’s testimony is not relevant.  They state that the court decided that the only issue in this case was whether AQ was digested completely into single amino acids, not whether it could be digested into small peptides.  The court disagreed, saying that there is no question that Dr. Bazinet’s opinion was relevant under Daubert because it logically advances a material aspect of Racies’s case.

Last, Quincy argues that Dr. Bazinet’s extrapolation of the effects of digestion on AQ is not reliable because is not rely on sound principles of science.  Dr. Bazinet opines that because AQ is a dietary protein, it is fully digested into single amino acids.  Quincy, through its own expert witnesses, argues that it is not true that all dietary proteins are easily digested into their component parts.  The court disagreed, and stated that his expert witness testimony is reliable.

Conclusion:  Quincy’s motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. Richard T. Bazinet is denied.