Many courts have lax standards for evidence and judges who abandon their role as gatekeepers, resulting in an abundance of “junk science” presented to jurors.

Why It’s a Problem

Junk science is especially common in mass tort litigation regarding the glyphosate-based roundup weed killer and talcum baby powder.

Juries and judges should have access to the most complete and accurate evidence during trials and be presented with scientifically and factually accurate information to allow them to make well-informed decisions.

What Can Be Done

Support implementation of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 in courts, requiring that theories must be based on sound scientific method.

The Rule 702 standard is utilized in the federal court system and by a majority of states.

Judges must follow applicable laws regarding evidentiary standards if they are in place in their state.

Rule 702

ATRA supports the proposed amendment to more closely align Ohio Rule of Evidence 702 (“Ohio Rule 702”) with its updated federal counterpart, Federal Rule of Evidence 702—2023 Amend. (effective Dec. 1, 2023). The proposed amendment to Ohio Rule 702 clarifies that the proponent of expert testimony must demonstrate “to the court that it is more likely than not” that the rule’s existing admissibility requirements are met. The amendment underscores the need for judges to act as “gatekeepers” against the admission of unreliable expert testimony. Clarifying the Ohio rule will help avoid misapplication of the rule that has occurred with the analog federal rule and will promote harmony in Ohio’s state and federal courts.

News on Junk Science

February 13, 2024 Law360 Op-Ed: New Rule 702 Helps Judges Keep Bad Science Out Of Court

March 8, 2023 Washington Examiner Op-Ed: The 3rd Circuit’s bankruptcy gift to the trial bar

February 10, 2023 Wall Street Journal Letter-to-the-Editor: Lawyers Win Big From J&J Bankruptcy Decision

January 9, 2023 Agri-Pulse Op-Ed: Trial lawyers target agriculture products in ‘Judicial Hellholes’

December 6, 2022 Press Release – St. Louis ‘Judicial Hellhole’ Judges Permit ‘Junk’ Science Evidence, Known Haven for Trial Lawyers

October 10, 2022 Washington Times Op-Ed: Monsanto’s triumph over junk science

September 28, 2022 Bloomberg Law Op-Ed: When Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Mislead the Public

June 23, 2020 Press Release – Federal Judge Takes Stand Against Junk Science in California