American Journal of Law & Medicine

Expert testimony: experts must address negative epidemiology to survive summary judgment in products liability cases involving silicone breast implants - Norris v. Baxter Healthcare Corp.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a breast implant recipient alleging systemic autoimmune disease and local injury from implants must counter the manufacturer's epidemiological evidence to satisfy the general causation requirement. (2) The Tenth Circuit upheld the lower court's summary judgment on the grounds that the recipient's expert testimony was insufficiently reliable as to the causation of the systemic injury and, thus, was inadmissible. (3) Furthermore, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the lower court's declaration that the statute of limitations for the claim of local injury started when the recipient had the implants replaced and became aware of the scarring of her breasts. (4)

In 1970, Dee Norris underwent bilateral breast augmentation surgery, during which she received her first set of silicone and saline filled breast implants manufactured by a division of Dow Coming Corporation. (5) In 1974, due to problems with her left implant, Norris had the implant removed and replaced, this time receiving a silicone and saline implant manufactured by Heyer-Schulte. (6) In 1978, when her right implant ruptured, Norris had both implants replaced by another set of implants manufactured by Dow Coming. …

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