Atlantic Legal Foundation Brief Cited by Supreme Court in Kumho Tire Decision; Ruling Will Impact Federal Products Liability Cases


Atlantic Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm active in challenging "junk science" in the courtroom, announced today that its amici curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, decided March 23, 1999, was cited by the Court in support of its decision to further bar the admissibility of junk science expert testimony in lawsuits.

The Kumho Tire ruling will impact products liability and other cases where plaintiffs rely heavily on expert testimony to persuade the jury. The Kumho Tire decision came in a personal injury lawsuit that claimed a tire design flaw resulted in several injuries and a death in an automobile accident in Alabama. The Supreme Court ruled that the testimony of plaintiff’s engineering expert as to the alleged tire defect was unreliable and therefore inadmissible. This decision marks a significant extension of the Supreme Court’s 1993 ruling in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals that the trial judge must determine whether scientific evidence is reliable before it can be admitted into evidence. The Kumho Tire decision expands the Daubert test of reliability to apply to non-scientific expert testimony and will further reduce speculative and poorly reasoned expert testimony in federal courts. Following the Daubert decision, and the 1997 Supreme Court decision in GE v. Joiner which reaffirmed application of Daubert, Kumho Tire is the third case of the "Daubert Trilogy" which defines the role of federal judges in ensuing reliability of expert testimony.

In filing its Kumho Tire brief, Atlantic Legal Foundation represented several prominent engineers and scholars: Stephen N. Bobo, Donald G. Carter, William J. Coad, Ernest L. Daman, John D. Graham, Nathan H. Hurt, A. Alan Moghissi, Francesco Pompei, James R. Wallace and Richard Wilson. Atlantic Legal Foundation previously represented several pre-eminent scientists, including several Nobel Laureates, in its 1993 amici curiae brief to the Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals supporting the application of definable criteria for reliability of expert testimony .

Formed in 1976, Atlantic Legal Foundation is a non-profit public interest law firm, located in New York City that advocates the principles of private enterprise and challenges burdensome or illegal government regulations. The Foundation also works to promote and protect good science in the courtroom. The Foundation is unique in that it directly represents clients in the courts on a "first chair" litigation basis and also files amicus curiae briefs with state and federal appellate courts. The Foundation has represented individuals, corporations, trade and industry organizations, chambers of commerce, U.S. Senators and Representatives on issues of public interest.

SOURCE Atlantic Legal Foundation

CONTACT: Martin S. Kaufman, Esq., Senior Vice President and General Counsel, or Edwin L. Lewis, President, both of Atlantic Legal Foundation, (212) 867-3322