New Jersey closer to Daubert but still not a Daubert jurisdiction

In re Accutane Litig., 234 N.J. 340 (Aug. 1, 2018)

A decision from the Supreme Court recently led New Jersey to adopt key Daubert factors for determining the admissibility of expert testimony. But the high court’s ruling also expresses a reluctance to fully embrace the Daubert standard.

The impetus for the high court’s decision was a civil mass tort action in which the plaintiffs’ experts sued the maker of Accutane, claiming there was a causal connection between the drug and Crohn’s disease. Notwithstanding epistemological studies that showed no causal connection, the plaintiffs’ experts contended they could show one. The trial court found the experts' methodology flawed and excluded the testimony, but the appellate division reversed.  

The defendants then asked the high court for review. The court was to clarify the expert witness standard, including rendering a decision on “whether the Daubert standard’s factors would further elucidate our own standard for the admissibility of expert testimony.” 

In brief, the state Supreme Court said: “We are persuaded that the factors identified originally in Daubert should be incorporated for use by our courts.” At the same time, the court rejected the idea that New Jersey would become a Daubert jurisdiction and otherwise limited the reach of Daubert.

To read about the Supreme Court’s decision, click here.