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Anderson v. ATMI, Inc.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

February 5, 2014

Aundre Michael Anderson by his Natural Mother and Next Friend, Cantana Anderson, and Cantana Anderson, Individually
v.
ATMI, Inc., Advanced Technology Materials, Inc., Epitronics Corporation, IR EPI Services, Inc., International Rectifier Corporation

Submitted: January 27, 2014

Ian C. Bifferato, Esq. David W. de Bruin, Esq. John Z. Haupt, Esq. Kevin G. Collins, Esq. Bifferato, LLC.

Robert J. Katzenstein, Esq. Smith, Katzenstein & Jenkins, LLP.

Dear Counsel,

Pending before the Court are five Daubert motions. The Court has heard oral argument on one so far: Defendants' Motion to Exclude the Testimony of Plaintiffs' Experts Cynthia Bearer, M.D., Ph.D. and Linda Frazier, M.D., MPH.[1] Given that trial in this matter is less than eight weeks away, the pretrial conference is on March 6, 2014, and mediation before Judge Davis is on February 12, 2014, there is not time to wait for the transcript of the motion hearing or to write a lengthy decision on the Frazier/Bearer motion. As set forth below, after considering the parties' oral arguments, extensive briefing and exhibits, and the recent Tumlinson decision, [2] the Court holds that the Frazier/Bearer opinions do not pass muster under Daubert and are therefore inadmissible.[3]

As the Court found in Tumlinson, there are numerous analytical gaps in Dr. Frazier's methodology that render her opinion irrelevant, unreliable, and inadmissible.[4] Mrs. Anderson's preeclampsia and the addition of Dr. Bearer do not remedy the deficiencies with regard to causation, as detailed by the Court in Tumlinson and raised by Defendants here.[5] As in Tumlinson, Dr. Frazier does not adequately "articulate her thought process, evaluation methods, and conclusions to establish reliability, "[6] and the studies she and Dr. Bearer rely upon in this case simply do not support their opinions and do not "fit" the case.[7]

At oral argument, Plaintiffs argued that Mrs. Anderson's preeclampsia makes Tumlinson inapposite. The Court disagrees. The preeclampsia makes the analytical gaps in Dr. Frazier's methodology even wider, and Plaintiffs' attempt to bridge those gaps with the addition of Dr. Bearer fails. As the Court found in Tumlinson, "courts require the expert to clearly define her methodology and application."[8] Drs. Frazier and Bearer fail to do that at several points and as Judge Silverman aptly noted in Tumlinson, "no quantum of evidence can overcome that."[9]

As in Tumlinson, the Court finds here that Dr. Frazier's untested hypothesis – that an adult's exposure to clean room chemicals caused their child's birth defects – is "untestable for Daubert purposes."[10] Additionally, Dr. Bearer's opinion that exposure to clean room chemicals caused Mrs. Anderson's preeclampsia is also "untestable for Daubert purposes." Further, Drs. Frazier and Dr. Bearer's methods have not been subjected to the rigors of peer review and publication, [11] the studies upon which the Drs. Frazier and Bearer's opinions rest do not support their opinions, [12] and Drs. Frazier and Bearer failed to perform a complete differential diagnosis, but instead rely on ipse dixit reasoning.[13]

In conclusion, the "gaps" detailed by the Court in Tumlinson are present here as well. For the reasons set forth in Tumlinson and detailed above, the Frazier/Bearer opinions are irrelevant, unreliable, and, therefore, inadmissible under DRE 702.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

JAN R. JURDEN JUDGE


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