Breast Surgery Expert Witness Allowed to Testify in Breast Cancer Case

Expert Witness Summary: Breast Surgery Expert Witness was allowed to testify despite his opinion was based entirely on clinical experience and not from other studies.

Discussion: In Cross v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., U.S. District court, Middle District of Florida, 2011 (Case 8:06-cv-429-t-23AEP) the plaintiffs in this filed a motion to exclude all expert witness and testimony that combination hormone therapy does not cause breast cancer.

Under the Federal Rule of Evidence, 702, expert witness testimony is admissible if the expert is qualified to testify about the issues she or he is called upon to opine, the methodology the expert uses to reach her or his conclusions is sufficiently reliable as mandated by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), and the testimony is helpful to the trier of fact to understand the evidence through specialized, scientific, or technical expertise. Whichever side would like that testimony must demonstrate that the witness is qualified, that his or her opinions are based on scientific and sound methods, and such testimony will assist the judge or jury. It is not necessary to prove that the opinion is correct, only that the evidence is reliable.  The judge must made the determination as to whether or not the expert witness testimony is reliable.

In this case, the plaintiff tried to exclude any Breast Surgery Expert Witness who claims that a combination of hormone therapy is NOT as cause of breast cancer.  Their argument is that it is common knowledge that combining hormones such as progestin and estrogen causes breast cancer.  In fact, they argue, there is no legitimate scientific basis for disputing the causal link between these hormones and breast cancer.  In response, the defendants argued that the testimony of Breast Surgery Expert Witnesses is necessary because there is no clear agreement among doctors, researchers, and scientists that hormone therapy causes breast cancer.

Conclusion: The court in this case found that while the plaintiffs presented arguments and evidence to suggest a general causal connection between hormone therapy and breast cancer, there was a dispute.  It is a question between “cause” and “risk”. As the US. District Court found, the causal connection between breast cancer and hormone therapy causes cancer or simply promotes the risk of cancer is a question that should be decided by a jury.




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