11th Circuit Affirms Exclusion Of Plaintiff Expert In First Seroquel Bellwether

ATLANTA — (Mealey’s) The sole causation expert for the first bellwether plaintiff in the Seroquel multidistrict litigation failed to rule out other causes of weight gain and diabetes, a panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 7 in affirming summary judgment (Linda Guinn v. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, et al., No. 07-10291, 11th Cir.).

Linda Guinn sued AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, alleging that Seroquel, an atypical antipsychotic drug, caused her to develop diabetes.  Her case was one of the first scheduled for trial in the MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

AstraZeneca moved to exclude Guinn’s sole specific causation expert, endocrinologist Dr. Jennifer Marks, as unqualified under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 U.S. 579 [1993]).  The District Court granted the motion, and Guinn appealed.

“After considering the nature of the temporal relationship at issue in this case,” the panel said, “we conclude Dr. Marks did not adequately consider possible alternative causes simply by noting the temporal proximity between Guinn’s ingestion of Seroquel and subsequent development of diabetes.  We do not hold that a temporal relationship can never be used to consider alternative causes of a plaintiff’s injury; instead, we merely find that temporal proximity is not sufficient on the facts of this case.”

Marks also was required “to provide some analysis of why she concluded that, more likely than not, Seroquel substantially contributed to Guinn’s weight gain and such weight gain was among the factors that substantially contributed to her diabetes,” the panel said.

Marks’ testimony that she failed to use her standard diagnostic techniques casts doubt on her differential diagnosis, the panel said, and “violates the primary purpose of Daubert”:  to use the same methodology as any other expert in the field.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the April 15 issue of Mealey’s Emerging Drugs & Devices.  In the meantime, the opinion is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844.  Document #28-100415-008Z.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
 
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