In Wisconsin: Single Fiber Theory on Causation Held Scientifically Unreliable; Longo Precluded; Castleman Opinion Partially Precluded

In two asbestos cases, Owens Illinois, Inc. sought to exclude an opinion by the plaintiffs’ experts that “any exposure to asbestos, no matter how slight, remote or insignificant, is a cause or substantial contributing factor in causing Plaintiffs’ diseases.” The company also sought to exclude the testimony and testing of William Longo under FRE 702. The plaintiffs did not substantively oppose these motions and the court granted them without opposition.

With respect to the plaintiffs’ “state of the art expert,”  Barry Castleman, Owens Illinois sought to exclude him on the grounds he is not qualified to discuss certain historical literature. The plaintiffs agreed to narrow Castleman’s testimony to be consistent with a recent decision, which states as follows: “Dr. Castleman will be permitted to testify as a ‘state of the art’ expert to the extent that he may describe the asbestos literature he has reviewed for the relevant time period(s). Defendants, of course, may cross-examine Dr. Castleman as necessary, including but not limited to questions regarding the methodology he used to select the literature upon which he relies. For his part, Krik may introduce documents produced by Defendants as exhibits during Dr. Castleman’s testimony, and Dr. Castleman may cite to and/or read the documents aloud. But, to the extent that the documents upon which he relies relate to subject areas in which Dr. Castleman has little or no demonstrated expertise (such as medical literature), Dr. Castleman may not testify as to the accuracy of the conclusions contained therein.” Based on this decision, the district court granted Owens Illinois’ motion with respect to medical literature and otherwise denied the remainder of the motion.

Read the full decision here.