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Litigation Medical Malpractice Products Liability

Challenges to the Admissibility of Evidence in the 'Omics' Era

Due to our increased understanding of human genetics, there has been a shift in, and expansion of, the use of genetics in the courtroom to address the "how" and "why" — the causation of, or susceptibility to — disease in mass tort and products liability litigations. Here are some trial tips you need to know.

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Genetic technologies have been a presence in United States courtrooms for decades. In 1987, Tommie Lee Andrews became the first person in the United States to be convicted of a crime based on DNA evidence, spurring the first appellate decision on the admissibility of the results of a genetic test. Andrews v. State, 533 So.2d 841 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1988). Two years later, the case of State v. Woodall, 385 S.E.2d 253 (W. Va. 1989), brought the issue of DNA evidence to a state’s highest court, which concluded that the reliability of genetic testing was generally accepted in the scientific community.

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