On July 21, 2020, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a lower court’s holding that trial courts may not act as “gatekeepers” to ensure the reliability of expert evidence. The decision was a disappointment for WLF, which filed a brief in support of the defendants arguing that the appeals court’s decision on admissibility would confuse juries and to impose baseless, industry-wide liability for alleged toxic exposures. The case arose from a wrongful death action against the manufacturers of various pesticides, alleging strict products liability and negligence. Given the plaintiffs’ lack of reliable expert testimony identifying the pesticides as contributing factors in the decedent’s leukemia, the trial court granted judgment in favor of the manufacturers and sellers of more than 25 pesticides. On appeal, however, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed, holding that trial judges may not scrutinize the scientific data an expert purportedly relies on in forming an opinion. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed that ruling. WLF filed its brief with substantial pro bono assistance from James M. Beck, an attorney with the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith LLP.


5/15/2019 amicus brief