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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2003

Science and Technology Law

Vanderbilt University Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Changing Scientific Evidence, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2003

Changing Scientific Evidence, Edward K. Cheng

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A number of high-profile toxic tort cases, such as silicone breast implants, have followed a familiar and disturbing path: Early studies suggest a link between a suspected substance and a particular illness. Based on these initial studies, lawsuits are brought and juries award large judgments to various plaintiffs. Then later, more comprehensive studies find no evidence of a causal link. How should the legal system cope with this problem in which new scientific evidence calls into question previous findings of liability? These erroneous judgments seriously harm social welfare and legitimacy. Beneficial products are needlessly discontinued or are made more expensive ...