Oklahoma Supreme Court

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Cert. petition denied

May 05, 2014

U.S. Chamber asks Oklahoma Supreme Court to review decision in a toxic tort case

February 28, 2014

In the coalition brief, the U.S. Chamber, the Oklahoma Chamber, and the Tulsa Chamber asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to review a decision by an Oklahoma appeals court that, in a nutshell, would make it much easier for plaintiffs to prevail in toxic tort cases even in situations where a vast body of epidemiological data rejects the plaintiff’s causation theory. The appeals court in this case ruled that the plaintiff need not prove “general causation” – that a known substance, in a known dose, causes a particular disease - which is almost always required in toxic tort cases. Instead, the court here ruled that so long as a doctor does a differential diagnosis that rules out other possible causes, the doctor’s testimony that a product caused this plaintiff’s disease is sufficient to satisfy the causation burden of proof – even if the doctor cited no epidemiological evidence in support of causation, and even if the existing epidemiological evidence all disproves any causal relationship between the substance and the disease.

The Chamber filed the brief jointly with the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce and the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.

John C. Richter and Jeffrey S. Bucholtz of King & Spalding LLP represented the U.S. Chamber as co-counsel to the National Chamber Litigation Center.

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