September 05, 2003

Maryland Appellate Court Rejects Expert Testimony That Exposure to Freon Caused Adult Onset Asthma Although the Maryland Court of Appeals has not adopted Daubert, Maryland has adopted a version of Rule 702 that seems close. In Giant Food v. Booker, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed a judgment in favor of a plaintiff who maintained that occupational exposure to freon gas caused him to develop adult on-set asthma. Applying Maryland Rule of Evidence 5-702, the Court held that, although the plaintiff’s medical expert was qualified to render an opinion, the expert’s testimony lacked a sufficient factual basis, and the opinion was not the product of reliable principles and methods. In this case, the plaintiff's expert could not point towards any medical literature establishing a causal link between freon and adult on-set asthma, and did not have a sufficient basis to rule out other chemical exposures as the cause of the asthma. The Court stated that: Moreover, we conclude that Dr. Redjaee’s testimony was not the product of the application of reliable principles and methods. Most notably, he did not rely on a single medical or scientific study suggesting a causal relationship between Freon exposure and asthma. He acknowledged that his research “was limited to looking up some textbooks,” perhaps implying that, although those text books did not support his position, some other textbook or study might show a causal connection. We view this approach as woefully inadequate, in that it is clear that Dr. Redjaee did not conduct an exhaustive medical textbook or journal review. It is important to recall that Dr. Redjaee...

David B. Stratton

Passed the bar in December, 1980-- then 6 and a half years in the Marine Corps, the rest in private practice in Washington, D.C. in a civil litigation defense firm, Jordan Coyne LLP

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