TORTINI

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Discovery of Retained, Testifying Statistician Expert Witnesses (Part 2)

July 1st, 2015

Discovery Beyond the Report and the Deposition

The lesson of the cases interpreting Rule 26 is that counsel cannot count exclusively upon the report and automatic disclosure requirements to obtain the materials necessary or helpful for cross-examination of statisticians who have created their own analyses. Sometimes just asking nicely suffices[1]. Other avenues of discovery are available, however, for reluctant disclosers. In particular, Rule 26(b) authorizes discovery substantially broader than what is required for inclusion in an expert witness’s report.

Occasionally, counsel cite caselaw that has been superseded by the steady expansion of Rule 26[2]. The 1993 amendments made clear, however, that Rule 26 sets out mandatory minimum requirements that do not define or exhaust the available discovery tools to obtain information from expert witnesses[3]. Some courts continue to insist that a party make a showing of necessity to go beyond the minimal requirements of Rule 26[4], although the better reasoned cases take a more expansive view of the proper scope of expert witness discovery[5].

Although the federal rules may not require the expert witness report to include, or to attach, all “working notes or recordings,” or calculations, alternative analyses, and data output files, these materials may be the subject of proper document requests to the adverse party or perhaps subpoenas to the expert witness.  The Advisory Committee Notes explain that the various techniques of discovery kick in by virtue of Rule 26(b), where automatic disclosure and report requirements of Rule 26(a) leave off:

“Rules 26(b)(4)(B) and (C) do not impede discovery about the opinions to be offered by the expert or the development, foundation, or basis of those opinions. For example, the expert’s testing of material involved in litigation, and notes of any such testing, would not be exempted from discovery by this rule. Similarly, inquiry about communications the expert had with anyone other than the party’s counsel about the opinions expressed is unaffected by the rule. Counsel are also free to question expert witnesses about alternative analyses, testing methods, or approaches to the issues on which they are testifying, whether or not the expert considered them in forming the opinions expressed. These discovery changes therefore do not affect the gatekeeping functions called for by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), and related cases.[6]

The court in Ladd Furniture v. Ernst & Young explained the structure of Rule 26 with respect to underlying documents, calculations, and data[7].  In particular, the requirements of the Rule 26(a) report do not create a limitation on Rule 26(b) discovery:

“As a basis for withholding the above information, Ladd argues that Ernst & Young is not entitled to discover any expert witness information which is not specifically mentioned in Rule 26(a)(2)(B). However, as explained below, Ladd’s position on this point is not supported by the text of Rule 26 or by the Advisory Committee’s commentary to Rule 26(a). In the text, Rule 26(a)(2)(B) provides for the mandatory disclosure of certain expert witness information, even without a request from the opposing party. However, there is no indication on the face of the rule to suggest that a party is absolutely prohibited from seeking any additional information about an opponent’s expert witnesses. In fact, Rule 26(b)(1) describes the scope of allowable discovery as follows: ‛Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action… .’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1).[8]

Expert witness discovery for materials that go beyond what is required in an adequate Rule 26(a) report can have serious consequences for the expert witness who fails to produce the requested materials. Opinion exclusion is an appropriate remedy against an expert witness who failed to keep data samples and statistical packages because the adversary party “could not attempt to validate [the expert witness’s] methods even if [the witness] could specifically say what he considered.[9]

No doubt expert witnesses and parties will attempt to resist the call for working notes and underlying materials on the theory that the requested documents and materials are “draft reports,” which are now protected by the revisions to Rule 26.  For the most part, these evasions have been rejected[10].  In one case, for instance, in which an expert witness’s assistants compiled and summarized information from individual case files, the court rejected the characterization of the information as part of a “draft report,” and ordered their production.[11]

Choice of Discovery Method Beyond Rule 26 Automatic Disclosure

In addition to the mandatory expert report and disclosure of data and facts, and the optional deposition by oral examination, parties have other avenues to pursue discovery of information, facts, and data, from expert witnesses. Under Rule 33(a)(2), parties may propound contention interrogatories that address expert witnesses’ opinions and conclusions. As for methods of discovery beyond what is discussed specifically in Rule 26, courts are confronted with a threshold question whether Rule 34 requests to produce, Rule 30(b)(2) depositions by oral examination, or Rule 45 subpoenas are the appropriate discovery method for obtaining documents from a retained, testifying expert witness. In the view of some courts, the resolution to this threshold question turns on whether expert witnesses are within the control of parties such that parties must respond to discovery for information, documents, and things within the custody, possession, and control of their expert witnesses.

Subpoenas Are Improper

Some federal district courts view Rule 45 subpoenas as inappropriate discovery tools for parties[12] and persons under the control of parties. In Alper v. United States[13], the district court refused to enforce plaintiff’s Rule 45 subpoena that sought documents from defendant’s expert witness. Although acknowledging that Rule 45’s language was unclear, the Alper court insisted that since a party proffers an expert witness, that witness should be considered under the party’s control[14]. And because the expert witness was “within defendant’s control,” the court noted that Rule 34 rather than Rule 45 governed the requested discovery[15]. Alper seems to be a minority view, but its approach is attractive in streamlining discovery, eliminating subpoena service issues for expert witnesses who may live outside the district, and forcing the sponsoring party to respond and to obtain compliance with its retained expert witness.

Subpoenas Are Proper

The “control” rationale of the Alper case is questionable. Rule 45 contains no statement of limitation to non-parties[16]. Parties “proffer” fact witnesses, but their proffers do not restrict the availability of Rule 45 subpoenas. More important, expert witnesses are not truly under the control of the retaining parties. Expert witnesses have independent duties to the court, and under their own professional standards, to give their own independent opinions[17].

Many courts allow discovery of expert witness documents and information by Rule 45 subpoena on either the theory that Rule 45 subpoenas are available for both parties and non-parties or the theory that expert witnesses are sufficiently independent of the sponsoring party that they are non-parties who are clearly subject to Rule 45. If expert witnesses are not parties, and Rule 26’s confidentiality provisions do not constrain the available discovery tools for expert witnesses, then expert witness subpoenas would appear to a proper discovery tool to discover documents in the witnesses’ possession, control, and custody[18]. When used as a discovery tool in this way, subpoenas used are subject to discovery deadlines[19].

Particular Concerns for Discovery of Statistician Expert Witnesses

Statistician expert witnesses require additional care and discovery investigation in complex products liability cases[20].  The caselaw sometimes takes a crabbed approach that refuses to provide parties access to their adversaries’ statistical analyses, calculations, data input  and output files, and graphical files.

Statistician expert testimony will usually involve complex statistical evidence, models, assumptions, and calculations. These materials will in turn create a difficulty in discerning the statistician’s choices from available statistical tests, and whether the statistician exploited the opportunity for multiple tests to be conducted serially with varying assumptions until a propitious result was obtained. Given these typical circumstances, statistical expert witness testimony will almost always require full disclosure to allow the adversary a fair opportunity to cross-examine at trial, or to challenge the validity of the proffered analyses under Rules 702 and 703[21].

Statisticians create and use a variety of materials that are clearly relevant to the their opinion:

  • programs and programming code run to generate all specified analyses on specified data,
  • statistical packages,
  • all data available,
  • all data “cleaning” or data selection processes,
  • selection of variables from those available,
  • data frames that show what data were included (and excluded) in the analyses,
  • data input files,
  • all specified tests run on all data,
  • all data and analysis output files that show all analyses generated,
  • all statistical test diagnostics and tests of underlying assumptions, and
  • graphical output files.

The statistician may have made any number of decisions or judgments in selecting which statistical test results to incorporate into his or her final report.  The report will in all likelihood not include important materials that would allow another statistician to fully understand, test, replicate, and criticize the more conclusory analysis and statements in the report.  In addition, lurking in the witnesses files, or in the electronic “trash bin” may be alternative analyses that were run and discarded, and not included in the final report.  Why and how those alternative analyses were run but discarded, may raise important credibility or validity questions, as well as provide insight into the statistician’s analytical process, all important considerations in preparing for cross-examination and rebuttal.  The lesson of Rule 26, and the caselaw interpreting its provisions, is that lawyers must make specific request for the materials described above.  Only with these materials firmly in hand, can a deposition fully explore the results obtained, the methods used, the assumptions made, the assumptions violated, the alternative methods rejected, the data used, the data available, data not used, the data-dredging and manipulation potential, analytical problems, and the potential failure to reconcile inconsistent results. Waiting for trial, or even for the deposition, may well be too late[22].

The warrant for examining the integrity of data relied upon by expert witnesses appears to be securely embedded in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in the Federal Rules of Evidence. Evidence Rule 703 has particular relevance to statistical or epidemiologic testimony. Lawyers facing studies of dubious quality may need to press for discovery of underlying data and materials. In the Viagra vision loss multi-district litigation (MDL), the defendant sought and obtained discovery of underlying data from plaintiffs’ expert witness’s epidemiologic study of vision loss among patients using Viagra and similar medications[23]. Although the Viagra MDL court had struggled with inferential statistics in its first approach to defendant’s Rule 702 motion, the court understood the challenge based upon lack of data integrity, and reconsidered and granted defendant’s motion to exclude the challenged expert witness[24].

The lawyering implications for discovery of statistician expert witnesses are important. Statistical evidence requires counsel’s special scrutiny to ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26. Given the restrictive reading of Rule 26 by some courts, counsel will need to anticipate the use of other discovery tools. Lawyers should request by Rule 34 or Rule 45, all computer runs, programming routines, and outputs, and they should zealously pursue witnesses’ failure to maintain and produce data. Given the uncertainty in some districts whether expert witnesses are subject to subpoenas, counsel may consider propounding both Rule 34 requests and serving Rule 45 subpoenas.

Lawyers in data-intensive cases should give early consideration to appropriate discovery plans that contemplate data production in advance of depositions, to allow full exploration of analyses at deposition[25]. Lawyers should also be alert to the potential need to show particularized need for the requested data and analyses. In instructing expert witnesses on their preparation of their reports, lawyers should consider directing their expert witnesses to express whether they need further access to the adversary’s expert witnesses’ underlying data and materials to fully evaluate the proffered opinions. Discovery of statisticians and their data and their analyses requires careful planning, as well as patient efforts to educate the court about the need for full exploration of all data and all analyses conducted, whether or not incorporated into the Rule 26 report.


[1] Randall v. Rolls-Royce Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23421, *4-5 (S.D. Ind. March 12, 2010) (“Dr. Harnett who began his evaluation of the analysis contained in the report … soon concluded that he needed the underlying studies and statistical programs created or used by Dr. Drogin. In response to the Defendants’ request for such materials, Plaintiffs produced four discs containing more than 1,000 separate electronic files”).

[2] Marsh v. Jackson, 141 F.R.D. 431, 432–33 (W.D. Va. 1992) (holding that Rule 45 could not be used to obtain an opposing expert’s files because Rule 26(b)(4) limits expert discovery to depositions and interrogatories as a policy matter)

[3] See Advisory Comm. Notes for 1993 Amendments, to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a) (“The enumeration in Rule 26(a) of items to be disclosed does not prevent a court from requiring by order or local rule that the parties disclose additional information without a discovery request. Nor are parties precluded from using traditional discovery methods to obtain further information regarding these matters, … .”); United States v. Bazaarvoice, Inc., C 13-00133 WHO (LB), 2013 WL 3784240 (N.D. Cal. July 18, 2013) (“Rule 26(a)(2)(B) . . . does not preclude parties from obtaining further information through ordinary discovery tools”) (internal citations omitted).

[4] Morriss v. BNSF Ry. Co., No. 8:13CV24, 2014 WL 128393, at *4–6, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3757, at *17 (D.Neb. Jan. 13, 2014) (holding that “absent some threshold showing of “compelling reason,” the broad discovery provisions of Rules 34 and 45 cannot be used to undermine the specific expert witness discovery rules in Rule 26(a)(2)”).

[5] Modjeska v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 12–C–1020, 2014 WL 2807531 (E.D. Wis. June 19, 2014) (holding that Rule 26(a)(2)(B) governs only disclosure in expert witness reports and does not limit or preclude further discovery using ordinary discovery such as requests to produce); Expeditors Int’l of Wash., Inc. v. Vastera, Inc., No. 04 C 0321, 2004 WL 406999, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Feb.26, 2004). See also Wright & Miller, 9A Federal Practice & Procedure Civ. § 2452 (3d ed. 2013).

[6] Adv. Comm. Note for Rule 26(b)(4)(B)(2010).  See, e.g., Ladd Furniture v. Ernst & Young, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17345, at *34-37 (M.D.N.C. Aug. 27, 1998).

[7] Id.

[8] Id. at *36-37.

[9] Innis Arden Golf Club v. Pitney Bowes, Inc., 629 F. Supp. 2d 175, 190 (D. Conn. 2009) (excluding expert opinion because his samples and data packages no longer existed and thus “[d]efendants could not attempt to validate [his] methods even if he could specifically say what he considered”). See also Jung v. Neschis, No. 01–Civ. 6993(RMB)(THK), 2007 WL 5256966, at *8–15 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 2007) (finding that a party’s failure to produce tape recordings that its medical expert witness relied upon for his opinion was ‘‘disturbing’’; precluding expert witness’s testimony).

[10] See, e.g., Dongguk Univ. v. Yale Univ., No. 3:08-CV-00441, 2011 WL 1935865, at *1 (D. Conn. May 19, 2011) (holding that “an expert’s handwritten notes are not protected from disclosure because they are neither drafts of an expert report nor communications between the party’s attorney and the expert witness”).

[11] D.G. ex rel. G. v. Henry, No. 08-CV-74-GKF-FHM, 2011 WL 1344200, at *1 (N.D. Okla. Apr. 8, 2011) (ordering production of the assistants’ notes because the expert witness had relied upon them in forming his opinion, which brought them within the scope of “facts or data” under the rule).

[12] Mortgage Info. Servs, Inc. v. Kitchens, 210 F.R.D. 562, 564-68 (W.D.N.C. 2002) (holding that nothing in Rule 45 precludes its use on a party); See also Mezu v. Morgan State Univ., 269 F.R.D. 565, 581 (D. Md. 2010) (“courts are divided as to whether Rule 45 subpoenas should be served on parties”); Peyton v. Burdick, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106910 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (discussing the split among courts on the issue).

[13] 190 F.R.D. 281 (D. Mass. 2000).

[14] Id. at 283.

[15] Id. See Ambrose v. Southworth Products Corp., No. CIV.A. 95–0048–H, 1997 WL 470359, 1 (W.D. Va. June 24, 1997) (holding a “naked” subpoena duces tecum directed to a non-party expert retained by a party is not within the ambit of a Rule 45 document production subpoena, and not permitted by Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 26(b)(4)); see also Hartford Fire Ins. v. Pure Air on the Lake Ltd., 154 F.R.D. 202, 208 (N.D. Ind. 1993) (holding a party cannot use Rule 45 to circumvent Rule 26(b)(4) as a method to obtain an expert witness’s files); Marsh v. Jackson, 141 F.R.D. 431, 432 (W.D. Va. 1992) (noting that subpoena for production of documents directed to non-party expert retained by a party is not within ambit of Fed. Rule 45(c)(3)(8)(ii)).

[16] See James Wm. Moore, 9 Moore’s Federal Practice § 45.03[1] (noting that “[s]ubpoenas under Rule 45 may be issued to parties or non-parties”).

[17] See Glendale Fed. Bank, FSB v.United States, 39 Fed. Cl. 422, 424 (Fed. Cl. 1997) (“The expert witness, testifying under oath, is expected to give his own honest, independent opinion… He is not the sponsoring party’s agent at any time merely because he is retained as its expert witness”). See also National Justice Compania Naviera S.A. v. Prudential Assurance Co. Ltd., (“The Ikarian Reefer”), [1993] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 68 at 81-82 (Q.B.D.), rev’d on other grounds [1995] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 455 at 496 (C.A.) (embracing the enumeration of duties, including a duty to “provide independent assistance to the Court by way of objective unbiased opinion in relation to matters within his expertise,” and a duty to eschew “the role of an advocate”).

[18] Western Res., Inc. v. Union Pac. RR, No. 00-2043-CM, 2002 WL 1822428, at *3 (D. Kan. July 23, 2002) (ordering expert witness to produce prior testimony under Rule 45); All W. Supply Co. v. Hill’s Pet Prods. Div., Colgate-Palmolive Co., 152 F.R.D. 634, 639 (D. Kan. 1993) (“With regard to nonparties such as plaintiff’s expert witness, a request for documents may be made by subpoena duces tecum pursuant to Rule 45”); Smith v. Transducer Technology, Inc., No. Civ. 1995/28, 2000 WL 1717332, 2 (D.V.I. Nov. 16, 2000) (holding that Rule 30(b)(5) deposition notice, served upon opposing party, is not an appropriate discovery tool to compel expert witness to produce documents from at his deposition) (noting that a “Rule 45 subpoena duces tecum in conjunction with a properly noticed deposition may do so (subject however to any Rule 26 limitations)”); Thomas v. Marina Assocs., 202 F.R.D. 433, 434 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (denying motion to quash subpoenas issued to party’s expert witness); Quaile v. Carol Cable Co., Civ. A. No. 90-7415, 1992 WL 277981, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 5, 1992) (granting motion to compel discovery concerning expert witness’s opinions pursuant to a Rule 45 subpoena); Lawrence E. Jaffe Pension Plan v. Household Int’l, Inc., No. 02 C 5893, 2008 WL 687220, at *2 (N.D. Ill Mar. 10, 2008) (“It is clear . . . that a subpoena duces tecum . . . is an appropriate discovery mechanism against . . . a party’s expert witness”) (internal citation omitted); Expeditors Internat’l of Wash., Inc. v. Vastera, Inc., No. 04 C 0321, 2004 WL 406999, at *2-3 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 26, 2004) (holding Rule 45, not Rule 34, governs discovery from retained experts) (“Subpoena duces tecum is . . . an appropriate discovery mechanism against nonparties such as a party’s expert witness”); Reit v. Post Prop., Inc., No. 09 Civ. 5455(RMB)(KNF), 2010 WL 4537044, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 4, 2010) (“Subpoena duces tecum … is an appropriate discovery mechanism against a nonparty expert”).

[19] See, e.g., Williamson v. Horizon Lines LLC , 248 F.R.D. 79, 83 (D. Me. 2008) (“[C]ontrary to Horizon Lines’ contention, there is a relationship between Rule 26 and Rule 45 and parties should not be allowed to employ a subpoena after a discovery deadline to obtain materials from third parties that could have been produced before discovery.”).

[20] Bartley v. Isuzu Motors Ltd., 151 F.R.D. 659, 660-61 (D. Colo. 1993) (ordering party to create and preserve “the input and output data for each variable in the program, for each iteration, or each simulation,” as well as a record of all simulations performed, even those that do not conform to the plaintiff’s claims and theories in the case).

[21] See City of Cleveland v. Cleveland Elec. Illuminating Co., 538 F. Supp. 1257 (N.D. Ohio 1980) (“Certainly, where, as here, the expert reports are predicated upon complex data, calculations and computer simulations which are neither discernible nor deducible from the written reports themselves, disclosure thereof is essential to the facilitation of effective and efficient examination of these experts at trial.”); Shu-Tao Lin v. McDonnell-Douglas, Corp., 574 F. Supp. 1407, 1412-13 (S.D.N.Y. 1983) (granting new trial, and holding that expert witness’s failure to disclosure the “nature of [the plaintiff’s testifying expert’s] computer program or the underlying data, the inputs and outputs employed in the program” deprived adversary of an “adequate basis on which to cross-examine plaintiff’s experts”), rev’d on other grounds, 742 F.2d 45 (2d Cir. 1984).

[22] Manual for Complex Litigation at 99, § 11.482 (4th ed. 2004) (“Early and full disclosure of expert evidence can help define and narrow issues. Although experts often seem hopelessly at odds, revealing the assumptions and underlying data on which they have relied in reaching their opinions often makes the bases for their differences clearer and enables substantial simplification of the issues. In addition, disclosure can facilitate rulings well in advance of trial on objections to the qualifications of an expert, the relevance and reliability of opinions to be offered, and the reasonableness of reliance on particular data.207”). See also ABA Section of Antitrust Law, Econometrics: Legal, Practical, and Technical Issues at 75-76 (2005) (advising of the necessity to obtain all data, all analyses, and all supporting materials, in advance of deposition to ensure efficient and effective discovery procedures).

[23] In re Viagra Prods. Liab. Litig., 572 F. Supp. 2d 1071, 1090 (D. Minn. 2008).

[24] In re Viagra Prods. Liab. Litig., 658 F. Supp. 2d 936, 945 (D. Minn. 2009).

[25] See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 16(b); 26(f).

Discovery of Retained, Testifying Statistician Expert Witnesses (Part 1)

June 30th, 2015

At times, the judiciary’s resistance to delving into the factual underpinnings of expert witness opinions is extraordinary. In one case, the Second Circuit affirmed a judgment for a plaintiff in a breach of contract action, based in large part upon expert witness testimony that presented the results of a computer simulation. Perma Research & Development v. Singer Co.[1] Although the trial court had promised to permit inquiry into the plaintiff’s computer expert witness’s source of data, programmed mathematical formulae, and computer programs, when the defendant asked the plaintiff’s expert witness to disclose his underlying data and algorithms, the district judge sustained the witness’s refusal on grounds that the requested materials were his “private work product” and “proprietary information.”[2] Despite the trial court’s failure to articulate any legally recognized basis for permitting the expert witness to stonewall in this fashion, a panel of the Circuit, in an opinion by superannuated Justice Tom Clark, affirmed, on an argument that the defendant “had not shown that it did not have an adequate basis on which to cross-examine plaintiff’s experts.” Judge Van Graafeiland dissented, indelicately pointing out that the majority had charged the defendant with failing to show that it had been deprived of a fair opportunity to cross-examine plaintiff’s expert witnesses while depriving the defendant of access to the secret underlying evidence and materials that were needed to demonstrate what could have been done on cross-examination[3]. The dissent traced the trial court’s error to its misconception that a computer is just a giant calculator, and pointed out that the majority contravened Circuit precedent[4] and evolving standards[5] for handling underlying data that was analyzed or otherwise incorporated into computer models and simulations.

Although the approach of Perma Research has largely been ignored, has fallen into disrepute, and has been superseded by statutory amendments[6], its retrograde approach continues to find occasional expression in reported decisions. The refinement of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 to require sound support for expert witnesses’ opinions has opened the flow of discovery of underlying facts and data considered by expert witnesses before generating their reports. The most recent edition of the Federal Judicial Center’s Manual for Complex Litigation treats both computer-generated evidence and expert witnesses’ underlying data as both subject to pre-trial discovery as necessary to provide for full and fair litigation of the issues in the case[7].

The discovery of expert witnesses who have conducted statistical analyses poses difficult problems for lawyers.  Unlike other some expert witnesses, who passively review data and arrive at an opinion that synthesizes published research, statisticians actually create evidence with new arrangements and analyses of data in the case.  In this respect, statisticians are like material scientists who may test and record experimental observations on a product or its constituents.  Inquiring minds will want to know whether the statistical analyses in the witness’s report were the results of pre-planned analysis protocols, or whether they were the second, third, or fifteenth alternative analysis.  Earlier statistical analyses conducted but not produced may reveal what the expert witness believed would have been the preferred analysis if only the data had cooperated more fully. Statistical analyses conducted by expert witnesses provide plenty of opportunity for data-dredging, which can then be covered up by disclosing only selected analyses in the expert witness’s report.

The output of statisticians’ statistical analyses will take the form of a measure of “point estimates” of “effect size,” a significance or posterior probability, a set of regression coefficients, a summary estimate of association, or a similar measure that did not exist before the statistician used the underlying data to produce the analytical outcome, which is then the subject of further inference and opinion.  Frequentist analyses must identify the probability model and other assumptions employed. Bayesian analyses must also identify prior probabilities used as the starting point used with further evidence to arrive at posterior probabilities. The science, creativity, and judgment involved in statistical methods challenge courts and counsel to discover, understand, reproduce, present, and cross-examine statistician expert witness testimony.  And occasionally, there is duplicity and deviousness to uncover as well.

The discovery obligations with respect to statistician expert witnesses vary considerably among state and federal courts.  The 1993 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure created an automatic right to conduct depositions of expert witnesses[8].  Previously, parties in federal court had to show the inadequacy of other methods of discovery.  Rule 26(a)(2)(B)(ii) requires the automatic production of “the facts or data considered by the [expert] witness in forming” his or her opinions. The literal wording of this provision would appear to restrict automatic, mandatory disclosure to those facts and data that are specifically considered in forming the opinions contained in the prescribed report. Several courts, however, have interpreted the term “considered” to include any information that expert witnesses review or generate, “regardless of whether the experts actually rely on those materials as a basis for their opinions.[9]

Among the changes introduced by the 2010 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was a narrowing of the disclosure requirement of “facts and data” considered by expert witnesses in arriving at their opinions to exclude some attorney work product, as well as protecting drafts of expert witness reports from discovery.  The implications of the Federal Rules for statistician expert witnesses are not entirely clear, but these changes should not be used as an excuse to deprive litigants of access to the data and materials underlying statisticians’ analyses. Since the 2010 amendments, courts have enforced discovery requests for testifying expert witnesses’ notes because they were not draft reports or specific communications between counsel and expert witnesses[10].

The Requirements Associated With Producing A Report

Rule 26 is the key rule that governs disclosure and discovery of expert witnesses and their opinions. Under the current version of Rule 26(a)(2)(B), the scope of required disclosure in the expert report has been narrowed in some respects. Rule 26(a)(2)(B) now requires service of expert witness reports that contain, among other things:

(i) a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them;

(ii) the facts or data considered by the witness in forming them;

(iii) any exhibits that will be used to summarize or support them.

The Rule’s use of “them” seems clearly to refer back to “opinions,” which creates a problem with respect to materials considered generally with respect to the case or the issues, but not for the specific opinions advanced in the report.

The previous language of the rule required that the expert report disclose “the data or other information considered by the witness.[11]” The use of “other information” in the older version of the rule, rather than the new “data” was generally interpreted to authorize discovery of all oral and written communications between counsel and expert witnesses.  The trimming of Rule 26(a)(2)(B)(ii) was thus designed to place these attorney-expert witness communications off limits from disclosure or discovery.

The federal rules specify that the required report “is intended to set forth the substance of the direct examination[12].” Several court have thus interpreted the current rule in a way that does not result in automatic production of all statistical analyses performed, but only those data and analyses the witness has decided to present at trial.  The report requirement, as it now stands, is thus not necessarily designed to help adverse counsel fully challenge and cross-examine the expert witness on analyses attempted, discarded, or abandoned. If a statistician expert witness conducted multiple statistical testing before arriving at a “preferred” analysis, that expert witness, and instructing counsel, will obviously be all too happy to eliminate the unhelpful analyses from the direct examination, and from the purview of disclosure.

Some of the caselaw in this area makes clear that it is up to the requesting party to discover what it wants beyond the materials that must automatically be disclosed in, or with, the report. A party will not be heard to complain, or attack its adversary, about failure to produce materials never requested.[13] Citing Rule 26(a) and its subsections, which deal with the report, and not discovery beyond the report, several cases take a narrow view of disclosure as embodied in the report requirement.[14] In one case, McCoy v. Whirlpool Corp, the trial court did, however, permit the plaintiff to conduct a supplemental deposition of the defense expert witness to question him about his calculations[15].

A narrow view of automatic disclosure in some cases appears to protect statistician and other expert witnesses from being required to produce calculations, statistical analyses, and data outputs even for opinions that are identified in their reports, and intended to be the subject of direct examination at trial[16].  The trial court’s handling of the issues in Cook v. Rockwell International Corporation is illustrative of this questionable approach.  The issue of the inadequacy of expert witnesses’ reports, for failing to disclose notes, calculations, and preliminary analyses, arose in the context of a Rule 702 motion to the admissibility of the witnesses’ opinion testimony.  The trial court rejected “[a]ny suggestion that an opposing expert must be able to verify the correctness of an expert’s work before it can be admitted… ”[17]; any such suggestion “misstates the standard for admission of expert evidence under [Fed. R. Evid.] 702.[18]”  The Cook court further rejected any “suggestion in Rule 26(a)(2) that an expert report is incomplete unless it contains sufficient information and detail for an opposing expert to replicate and verify in all respects both the method and results described in the report.[19]”   Similarly, the court rejected the defense’s complaints that one of plaintiffs’ expert witness’s expert report and disclosures violated Rule 26(a)(2), by failing to provide “detailed working notes, intermediate results and computer records,” to allow a rebuttal expert witness to test the methodology and replicate the results[20]. The court observed that

“Defendants’ argument also confuses the expert reporting requirements of Rule 26(a)(2) with the considerations for assessing the admissibility of an expert’s opinions under Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Whether an expert’s method or theory can or has been tested is one of the factors that can be relevant to determining whether an expert’s testimony is reliable enough to be admissible. See Fed. R. Evid. 702 2000 advisory committee’s note; Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593, 113 S.Ct. 2786. It is not a factor for assessing compliance with Rule 26(a)(2)’s expert disclosure requirements.[21]

The Rule 702 motion to exclude an expert witness comes too late in the pre-trial process for complaints about failure to disclose underlying data and analyses. The Cook case never explicitly addressed Rule 26(b), or other discovery procedures, as a basis for the defense request for underlying documents, data, and materials.  In any event, the limited scope accorded to Rule 26 disclosure mechanisms by Cook emphasizes the importance of deploying ancillary discovery tools early in the pre-trial process.

The Format Of Documents and Data Files To Be Produced

The dispute in Helmert v.  Butterball, LLC, is typical of what may be expected in a case involving statistician expert witness testimony.  The parties exchanged reports of their statistical expert witnesses, as well as the data output files.  The parties chose, however, to produce the data files in ways that were singularly unhelpful to the other side.  One party produced data files in the “portable document format” (pdf) rather than in the native format of the statistical software package used (STATA).  The other party produced data in a spreadsheet without any information about how the data were processed.  The parties then filed cross-motions to compel the data in its “electronic, native format.” In addition, plaintiffs pressed for all the underlying data, formulae, and calculations. The court denied both motions on the theory that both sides had received copies of the data considered, and neither was denied facts or data considered by the expert witnesses in reaching their opinions[22]. The court refused plaintiffs’ request for formulae and calculations as well. The court’s discussion of its rationale for denying the cross-motions is framed entirely in terms of what parties may expect and be entitled in the form of a report, without any mention of additional discovery mechanisms to obtain the sought-after materials. The court noted that the parties would have the opportunity to explore calculations at deposition.

The decision in Helmert seems typical of judicial indifference to, and misunderstanding of, the need for datasets, especially with large datasets, in the form uploaded to, and used in, statistical software programs. What is missing from the Helmert opinion is a recognition that an effective deposition would require production of the requested materials in advance of the oral examination, so that the examining counsel can confer and consult with a statistical expert for help in formulating and structuring the deposition questions. There are at least two remedial considerations for future discovery motions of the sort seen in Helmert. First, the moving party should support its application with an affidavit of a statistical expert to explain the specific need for identification of the actual formulae used, programming used within specific software programs to run analyses, and interim and final outputs. Second, a strong analogy with document discovery of parties, in which courts routinely order “native format” versions of PowerPoint, Excel, and Word documents produced in response to document requests. Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that “[a] party must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business[23]” and that, “[i]f a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.[24]” The Advisory Committee notes to Rule 34[25] make clear that:

“[T]he option to produce in a reasonably usable form does not mean that a responding party is free to convert electronically stored information from the form in which it is ordinarily maintained to a different form that makes it more difficult or burdensome for the requesting party to use the information efficiently in the litigation. If the responding party ordinarily maintains the information it is producing in a way that makes it searchable by electronic means, the information should not be produced in a form that removes or significantly degrades this feature.”

Under the Federal Rules, a requesting party’s obligation to specify a particular format for document production is superseded by the responding party’s obligation to refrain from manipulating or converting “any of its electronically stored information to a different format that would make it more difficult or burdensome for [the requesting party] to use.[26]” In Helmert, the STATA files should have been delivered as STATA native format files, and the requesting party should have requested, and received, all STATA input and output files, which would have permitted the requestor to replicate all analyses conducted.

Some of the decided cases on expert witness reports are troubling because they do not explicitly state whether they are addressing the adequacy of automatic disclosure and reports, or a response to propounded discovery.  For example, in Etherton v. Owners Ins. Co.[27], the plaintiff sought to preclude a defense accident reconstruction expert witness on grounds that the witness failed to produce several pages of calculations[28]. The defense argued that the “[w]hile [the witness’s] notes regarding these calculations were not included in his expert report, the report does specifically identify the methods he employed in his analysis, and the static data used in his calculations”; and by asserting that “Rule 26 does not require the disclosure of draft expert reports, and it certainly does not require disclosure of calculations, as Plaintiff contends.[29]”  The court in Etherton agreed that “Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B) does not require the production of every scrap of paper with potential relevance to an expert’s opinion.[30]” The court laid the discovery default here upon the plaintiff, as the requesting party:  “Although Plaintiff should have known that Mr. Ogden’s engineering analysis would likely involve calculations, Plaintiff never requested that documentation of those calculations be produced at any time prior to the date of [Ogden’s] deposition.[31]

The Etherton court’s assessment that the defense expert witness’s calculations were “working notes,” which Rule 26(a)(2) does not require to be included in or produced with a report, seems a complete answer, except for the court’s musings about the new provisions of Rule 26(b)(4)(B), which protect draft reports.  Because of the court’s emphasis that the plaintiff never requested the documentation of the relevant calculations, the court’s musings about what was discoverable were clearly dicta.  The calculations, which would reveal data and inferential processes considered, appear to be core materials, subject to and important for discovery[32].

[This post is a substantial revision and update to an earlier post, “Discovery of Statistician Expert Witnesses” (July 19, 2012).]


[1] 542 F.2d 111 (2d Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 987 (1976)

[2] Id. at 124.

[3] Id. at 126 & n.17.

[4] United States v. Dioguardi, 428 F.2d 1033, 1038 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 825 (1970) (holding that prosecution’s failure to produce computer program was error but harmless on the particular facts of the case).

[5] See, e.g., Roberts, “A Practitioner’s Primer on Computer-Generated Evidence,” 41 U. Chi. L. Rev. 254, 255-56 (1974); Freed, “Computer Records and the Law — Retrospect and Prospect,” 15 Jurimetrics J. 207, 208 (1975); ABA Sub-Committee on Data Processing, “Principles of Introduction of Machine Prepared Studies” (1964).

[6] Aldous, Note, “Disclosure of Expert Computer Simulations,” 8 Computer L.J. 51 (1987); Betsy S. Fiedler, “Are Your Eyes Deceiving You?: The Evidentiary Crisis Regarding the Admissibility of Computer Generated Evidence,” 48 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 295, 295–96 (2004); Fred Galves, “Where the Not-So-Wild Things Are: Computers in the Courtroom, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Need for Institutional Reform and More Judicial Acceptance,” 13 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 161 (2000); Leslie C. O’Toole, “Admitting that We’re Litigating in the Digital Age: A Practical Overview of Issues of Admissibility in the Technological Courtroom,” Fed. Def. Corp. Csl. Quart. 3 (2008); Carole E. Powell, “Computer Generated Visual Evidence: Does Daubert Make a Difference?” 12 Georgia State Univ. L. Rev. 577 (1995).

[7] Federal Judicial Center, Manual for Complex Litigation § 11.447, at 82 (4th ed. 2004) (“The judge should therefore consider the accuracy and reliability of computerized evidence, including any necessary discovery during pretrial proceedings, so that challenges to the evidence are not made for the first time at trial.”); id. at § 11.482, at 99 (“Early and full disclosure of expert evidence can help define and narrow issues. Although experts often seem hopelessly at odds, revealing the assumptions and underlying data on which they have relied in reaching their opinions often makes the bases for their differences clearer and enables substantial simplification of the issues.”)

[8] Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(4)(A) (1993).

[9] United States v. Dish Network, L.L.C., No. 09-3073, 2013 WL 5575864, at *2, *5 (C.D. Ill. Oct. 9, 2013) (noting that the 2010 amendments did not affect the change the meaning of the term “considered,” as including “anything received, reviewed, read, or authored by the expert, before or in connection with the forming of his opinion, if the subject matter relates to the facts or opinions expressed.”); S.E.C. v. Reyes, 2007 WL 963422, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 30, 2007). See also South Yuba River Citizens’ League v. National Marine Fisheries Service, 257 F.R.D. 607, 610 (E.D. Cal. 2009) (majority rule requires production of materials considered even when work product); Trigon Insur. Co. v. United States, 204 F.R.D. 277, 282 (E.D. Va. 2001).

[10] Dongguk Univ. v. Yale Univ., No. 3:08–CV–00441 (TLM), 2011 WL 1935865 (D. Conn. May 19, 2011) (ordering production of a testifying expert witness’s notes, reasoning that they were neither draft reports nor communications between the party’s attorney and the expert witness, and they were not the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of the party’s attorney); In re Application of the Republic of Ecuador, 280 F.R.D. 506, 513 (N.D. Cal. 2012) (holding that Rule 26(b) does not protect an expert witness’s own work product other than draft reports). But see Internat’l Aloe Science Council, Inc. v. Fruit of the Earth, Inc., No. 11-2255, 2012 WL 1900536, at *2 (D. Md. May 23, 2012) (holding that expert witness’s notes created to help counsel prepare for deposition of adversary’s expert witness were protected as attorney work product and protected from disclosure under Rule 26(b)(4)(C) because they did not contain opinions that the expert would provide at trial)).

[11] Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B)(ii) (1993) (emphasis added).

[12] Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules for Rule 26(a)(2)(B). See, e.g., Lituanian Commerce Corp., Ltd. v. Sara Lee Hosiery, 177 F.R.D. 245, 253 (D.N.J. 1997) (expert witness’s written report should state completely all opinions to be given at trial, the data, facts, and information considered in arriving at those opinions, as well as any exhibits to be used), vacated on other grounds, 179 F.R.D. 450 (D.N.J. 1998).

[13] See, e.g., Gillepsie v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 386 F.3d 21, 35 (1st Cir. 2004) (holding that trial court erred in allowing cross-examination and final argument on expert witness’s supposed failure to produce all working notes and videotaped recordings while conducting tests, when objecting party never made such document requests).

[14] See, e.g., McCoy v. Whirlpool Corp., 214 F.R.D. 646, 652 (D. Kan. 2003) (Rule  26(a)(2) “does not require that a report recite each minute fact or piece of scientific information that might be elicited on direct examination to establish the admissibility of the expert opinion … Nor does it require the expert to anticipate every criticism and articulate every nano-detail that might be involved in defending the opinion[.]”).

[15] Id. (without distinguishing between the provisions of Rule 26(a) concerning reports and Rule 26(b) concerning depositions); see also Scott v. City of New York, 591 F.Supp. 2d 554, 559 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (“failure to record the panoply of descriptive figures displayed automatically by his statistics program does not constitute best practices for preparation of an expert report,’’ but holding that the report contained ‘‘the data or other information’’ he considered in forming his opinion, as required by Rule 26); McDonald v. Sun Oil Co., 423 F.Supp. 2d 1114, 1122 (D. Or. 2006) (holding that Rule 26(a)(2)(B) does not require the production of an expert witness’s working notes; a party may not be sanctioned for spoliation based upon expert witness’s failure to retain notes, absent a showing of relevancy and bad faith), rev’d on other grounds, 548 F.3d 774 (9th Cir. 2008).

[16] In re Xerox Corp Securities Litig., 746 F. Supp. 2d 402, 414-15 (D. Conn. 2010) (“The court concludes that it was not necessary for the [expert witness’s] initial regression analysis to be contained in the [expert] report” that was disclosed pursuant to Rule 26(a)(2)), aff’d on other grds. sub. nom., Dalberth v. Xerox Corp., 766 F. 3d 172 (2d Cir. 2014). See also Cook v. Rockwell Int’l Corp., 580 F.Supp. 2d 1071, 1122 (D. Colo. 2006), rev’d and remanded on other grounds, 618 F.3d 1127 (10th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___ , No. 10-1377, 2012 WL 2368857 (June 25, 2012), on remand, 13 F.Supp.3d 1153 (D. Colo. 2014), vacated 2015 WL 3853593, No. 14–1112 (10th Cir. June 23, 2015); Flebotte v. Dow Jones & Co., No. Civ. A. 97–30117–FHF, 2000 WL 35539238, at *7 (D. Mass. Dec. 6, 2000) (“Therefore, neither the plain language of the rule nor its purpose compels disclosure of every calculation or test conducted by the expert during formation of the report.”).

[17] Cook, 580 F. Supp. 2d at 1121–22.

[18] Id.

[19] Id. & n. 55 (Rule 26(a)(2) does not “require that an expert report contain all the information that a scientific journal might require an author of a published paper to retain.”).

[20] Id. at 1121-22.

[21] Id.

[22] Helmert v.  Butterball, LLC, No. 4:08-CV-00342, 2011 WL 3157180, at *2 (E.D. Ark. July 27, 2011).

[23] Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(2)(E)(i).

[24] Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(2)(E)(ii).

[25] Fed. R. Civ. P. 34, Advisory Comm. Notes (2006 Amendments).

[26] Crissen v. Gupta, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159534, at *22 (S.D. Ind. Nov. 7, 2013), citing Craig & Landreth, Inc. v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66069, at *3 (S.D. Ind. July 27, 2009). See also Saliga v. Chemtura Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167019, *3-7 (D. Conn. Nov. 25, 2013).

[27] No. 10-cv-00892-MSKKLM, 2011 WL 684592 (D. Colo. Feb. 18, 2011)

[28] Id. at *1.

[29] Id.

[30] Id. at *2.

[31] Id.

[32] See Barnes v. Dist. of Columbia, 289 F.R.D. 1, 19–24 (D.D.C. 2012) (ordering production of underlying data and information because, “[i]n order for the [requesting party] to understand fully the . . . [r]eports, they need to have all the underlying data and information on how” the reports were prepared).

Forensic Science Conference Papers Published by Royal Society

June 27th, 2015

In February of this year, the Royal Society sponsored a two day conference, on “The paradigm shift for UK forensic science,” at The Royal Society, London. The meeting was organized by Professors Sue Black and Niamh Nic Daeid, of Dundee University, to discuss developments in the scientific reliability of the forensic sciences. The meeting program reflected a broad coverage of topics by scientists, judges, lawyers, on science in the courtroom.

The presentations are now available as papers open access in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences:

Sue Black, Niamh Nic Daeid, Introduction: Time to think differently: catalysing a paradigm shift in forensic science

The Rt Hon. the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, The legal framework for more robust forensic science evidence

Éadaoin O’Brien, Niamh Nic Daeid, Sue Black, Science in the court: pitfalls, challenges and solutions

Paul Roberts, Paradigms of forensic science and legal process: a critical diagnosis

Stephan A. Bolliger, Michael J. Thali, Bridging the gap: from biometrics to forensics

Anil K. Jain, Arun Ross, Fingerprint identification: advances since the 2009 National Research Council report

Christophe Champod, The future of forensic DNA analysis

John M. Butler, The end of the (forensic science) world as we know it? The example of trace evidence

Claude Roux, Benjamin Talbot-Wright, James Robertson, Frank Crispino, Olivier Ribaux, Advances in the use of odour as forensic evidence through optimizing and standardizing instruments and canines

Kenneth G. Furton, Norma Iris Caraballo, Michelle M. Cerreta, Howard K. Holness, New psychoactive substances: catalysing a shift in forensic science practice?

Justice Tettey, Conor Crean, The logical foundations of forensic science: towards reliable knowledge

Ian Evett, The interface between forensic science and technology: how technology could cause a paradigm shift in the role of forensic institutes in the criminal justice system

Ate Kloosterman, Anna Mapes, Zeno Geradts, Erwin van Eijk, Carola Koper, Jorrit van den Berg, Saskia Verheij, Marcel van der Steen, Arian van Asten, Integrating research into operational practice

Alastair Ross, Cognitive neuroscience in forensic science: understanding and utilizing the human element

Itiel E. Dror, Review article: Cognitive neuroscience in forensic science: understanding and utilizing the human element

Earthquake-Induced Data Loss – We’re All Shook Up

June 26th, 2015

Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky are medical journalists who publish the Retraction Watch blog. Their blog’s coverage of error, fraud, plagiarism, and other publishing disasters is often first-rate, and a valuable curative for the belief that peer review publication, as it is now practiced, ensures trustworthiness.

Yesterday, Retraction Watch posted an article on earthquake-induced data loss. Shannon Palus, “Lost your data? Blame an earthquake” (June 25, 2015). A commenter on PubPeer raised concerns about a key figure in a paper[1]. The authors acknowledged a problem, which they traced to their loss of data in an earthquake. The journal retracted the paper.

This is not the first instance of earthquake-induced loss of data.

When John O’Quinn and his colleagues in the litigation industry created the pseudo-science of silicone-induced autoimmunity, they recruited Nir Kossovsky, a pathologist at UCLA Medical Center. Although Kossovsky looked a bit like Pee-Wee Herman, he was a graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and the U.S. Naval War College, and a consultant to the FDA. In his dress whites, Kossovsky helped O’Quinn sell his silicone immunogenicity theories to juries and judges around the country. For a while, the theories sold well.

In testifying and dodging discovery for the underlying data in his silicone studies, Kossovsky was as slick as silicone itself. Ultimately, when defense counsel subpoenaed the underlying data from Kossovsky’s silicone study, Kossovsky shrugged and replied that the Northridge Earthquake destroyed his data. Apparently coffee cups and other containers of questionable fluids spilled on his silicone data in the quake, and Kossovsky’s emergency response was to obtain garbage cans and throw out the data. For the gory details, see Gary Taubes, “Silicone in the System: Has Nir Kossovsky really shown anything about the dangers of breast implants?” Discover Magazine (Dec. 1995).

As Mr. Taubes points out, Kossovsky’s paper was rejected by several journals before being published in the Journal of Applied Biomaterials, of which Kossovsky was a member of the editorial board. The lack of data did not, however, keep Kossovsky from continuing to testify, and from trying to commercialize, along with his wife, Beth Brandegee, and his father, Ram Kossowsky[2], an ELISA-based silicone “antibody” biomarker diagnostic test, Detecsil. Although Rule 702 had been energized by the Daubert decision in 1993, many judges were still not willing to take a hard look at Kossovsky’s study, his test, or to demand the supposedly supporting data. The Food and Drug Administration, however, eventually caught up with Kossovsky, and the Detecsil marketing ceased. Lillian J. Gill, FDA Acting Director, Office of Compliance, Letter to Beth S. Brandegee, President, Structured Biologicals (SBI) Laboratories: Detecsil Silicone Sensitivity Test (July 15, 1994); see Taubes, Discover Magazine.

After defense counsel learned of the FDA’s enforcement action against Kossovsky and his company, the litigation industry lost interest in Kossovsky, and his name dropped off trial witness lists. His name also dropped off the rolls of tenured UCLA faculty, and he apparently left medicine altogether to become a business consultant. Dr. Kossovsky became “an authority on business process risk and reputational value.” Kossovsky is now the CEO and Director of Steel City Re, which specializes in strategies for maintaining and enhancing reputational value. Ironic; eh?

A review of PubMed’s entries for Nir Kossovsky shows that his run in silicone started in 1983, and ended in 1996. He testified for plaintiffs in Hopkins v. Dow Corning Corp., 33 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir.1994) (tried in 1991), and in the infamous case of Johnson v. Bristol-Myers Squibb, CN 91-21770, Tx Dist. Ct., 125th Jud. Dist., Harris Cty., 1992.

A bibliography of Kossovsky silicone oeuvre is listed, below.


[1] Federico S. Rodríguez, Katterine A. Salazar, Nery A. Jara, María A García-Robles, Fernando Pérez, Luciano E. Ferrada, Fernando Martínez, and Francisco J. Nualart, “Superoxide-dependent uptake of vitamin C in human glioma cells,” 127 J. Neurochemistry 793 (2013).

[2] Father and son apparently did not agree on how to spell their last name.


Nir Kossovsky, D. Conway, Ram Kossowsky & D. Petrovich, “Novel anti-silicone surface-associated antigen antibodies (anti-SSAA(x)) may help differentiate symptomatic patients with silicone breast implants from patients with classical rheumatological disease,” 210 Curr. Topics Microbiol. Immunol. 327 (1996)

Nir Kossovsky, et al., “Preservation of surface-dependent properties of viral antigens following immobilization on particulate ceramic delivery vehicles,” 29 J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 561 (1995)

E.A. Mena, Nir Kossovsky, C. Chu, and C. Hu, “Inflammatory intermediates produced by tissues encasing silicone breast prostheses,” 8 J. Invest. Surg. 31 (1995)

Nir Kossovsky, “Can the silicone controversy be resolved with rational certainty?” 7 J. Biomater. Sci. Polymer Ed. 97 (1995)

Nir Kossovsky & C.J. Freiman, “Physicochemical and immunological basis of silicone pathophysiology,” 7 J. Biomater. Sci. Polym. Ed. 101 (1995)

Nir Kossovsky, et al., “Self-reported signs and symptoms in breast implant patients with novel antibodies to silicone surface associated antigens [anti-SSAA(x)],” 6 J. Appl. Biomater. 153 (1995), and “Erratum,” 6 J. Appl. Biomater. 305 (1995)

Nir Kossovsky & J. Stassi, “A pathophysiological examination of the biophysics and bioreactivity of silicone breast implants,” 24s1 Seminars Arthritis & Rheum. 18 (1994)

Nir Kossovsky & C.J. Freiman, “Silicone breast implant pathology. Clinical data and immunologic consequences,” 118 Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 686 (1994)

Nir Kossovsky & C.J. Freiman, “Immunology of silicone breast implants,” 8 J. Biomaterials Appl. 237 (1994)

Nir Kossovsky & N. Papasian, “Mammary implants,” 3 J. Appl. Biomater. 239 (1992)

Nir Kossovsky, P. Cole, D.A. Zackson, “Giant cell myocarditis associated with silicone: An unusual case of biomaterials pathology discovered at autopsy using X-ray energy spectroscopic techniques,” 93 Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 148 (1990)

Nir Kossovsky & R.B. Snow RB, “Clinical-pathological analysis of failed central nervous system fluid shunts,” 23 J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 73 (1989)

R.B. Snow & Nir Kossovsky, “Hypersensitivity reaction associated with sterile ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction,” 31 Surg. Neurol. 209 (1989)

Nir Kossovsky & Ram Kossowsky, “Medical devices and biomaterials pathology: Primary data for health care technology assessment,” 4 Internat’l J. Technol. Assess. Health Care 319 (1988)

Nir Kossovsky, John P. Heggers, and M.C. Robson, “Experimental demonstration of the immunogenicity of silicone-protein complexes,” 21 J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 1125 (1987)

Nir Kossovsky, John P. Heggers, R.W. Parsons, and M.C. Robson, “Acceleration of capsule formation around silicone implants by infection in a guinea pig model,” 73 Plastic & Reconstr. Surg. 91 (1984)

John Heggers, Nir Kossovsky, et al., “Biocompatibility of silicone implants,” 11 Ann. Plastic Surg. 38 (1983)

Nir Kossovsky, John P. Heggers, et al., “Analysis of the surface morphology of recovered silicone mammary prostheses,” 71 Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 795 (1983)

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