Expert Witness Academy Funded

Expert witnesses are exceedingly important to all sorts of trials, from murder cases to personal injury litigation, but it can be hard for an expert witness to explain their specialty to a jury. The staff and faculty of William Mitchell College of Law understand this difficulty. Since 2011, the school has offered a special workshop for scientists that teaches them to speak to juries in an understandable way. The program has been sustained by a grant from the National Science Foundation, which has awarded the college another grant of almost $550,000 to fund the program for the next three years. “The goal is not to teach scientists to advocate for one side or another or to educate them in the intricacies of various legal processes. It’s to help them become better communicators of science in a variety of forums,” says a professor leading the program. Currently, only climate and atmospheric…
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Expert Witness Key to $13M Mesothelioma Verdict

A unique lawsuit in California provides another example of an expert witness contributing to a case that might not have succeeded otherwise. A Los Angeles jury awarded a woman $13 million after finding Colgate-Palmolive responsible for causing the woman’s mesothelioma with an asbestos-tainted product. The victim’s lawyers argued that Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder, which contained the carcinogenic mineral, caused the fatal illness commonly found in miners, dock workers and construction workers. Testimony from the victim’s physician played a large role in convincing the jury that the product was the cause of illness. The physician is a leading expert on mesothelioma and serves as Director of Thoracic Oncology at UCLA’s Department of Surgery. Even with a scarcity of research linking tainted cosmetics to mesothelioma in women, her doctor explained how the contaminated talcum powder was the most reasonable and likely cause of his patient’s disease. Combined with evidence of asbestos…
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Complex Injury Cases Often Demand Expensive Expert Witnesses

The verdicts awarded to two men injured by diacetyl inhalation provide two examples of how expert witness testimony can strengthen an injury case. One of the victims was a regular consumer of microwave popcorn, while the other man worked in a California flavoring plant. Both men developed a serious respiratory condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung,” from inhaling the diacetyl used for butter flavoring and smell in microwave popcorn. The popcorn-eating victim was greatly assisted in his claim by the lung specialist who treated him and wrote to federal authorities after becoming convinced of diacetyl’s risks. The specialist’s research and testimony helped to show that diacetyl levels in the man’s home were reaching levels normally seen at popcorn plants. The victim was eventually awarded $7 million in the case. The flavoring plant worker took his popcorn lung case to trial and benefitted from his own expert witness. The…
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