Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Charleston Division
Case Name: Armstrong v. Boston Sci. Corp.
Citation: 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135067
In one of the seven Multidistrict Litigations (MDLs) concerning the use of transvaginal surgical mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the district court dealt on multiple motions to exclude or limit expert witness testimony.
The plaintiffs retained an anatomical pathology expert to provide general causation opinions based on his examination of the mesh explant samples in his personal data pool. The expert witness served as the Director of Cytopathology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at a hospital in Canada.
The defendants moved to exclude the pathology expert’s opinion under Daubert, arguing that any opinion based on specimens other than the plaintiff’s would be scientifically unreliable and hence, inadmissible.
The court noted that the expert did not provide any information on how the mesh explants were chosen or prepared for examination. He testified that the plaintiff’s counsel provided approximately 70% of the transvaginal mesh explants, but did not provide any explanation as to how the explants were chosen or what methodology was applied.
It was also not clear whether the pathology expert intended to offer a specific causation opinion in the case because he did not provide any report specific to the plaintiff.
The court held that the pathology expert’s opinions regarding general causation were not acceptable due to his unreliable data pool. There was no evidence to support whether the expert examined the plaintiff’s explanted mesh or performed a physical examination of the same. The specific causation opinions which the expert sought to offer were not sufficiently reliable under Daubert and thus, his opinions were excluded.
Boston Scientific Corporation’s motion to strike and exclude the opinions and testimony of the plaintiff’s pathology expert was granted.