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We handle cases across the United States. Allen Stewart is licensed to practice law in Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona.

Allen Stewart, P.C. Proudly Announces an Important Victory

Allen Stewart, P.C. Proudly Announces an Important Victory for People with Diseases Caused by Benzene and Other Toxic Substances

We are pleased to announce an important legal victory for victims of diseases caused by exposure to benzene and toxic substances. In an appeal spearheaded by our very own Steve Baughman Jensen, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed down a decision reversing a trial judge’s order excluding the testimony of an expert witness concluding that workplace exposure to benzene can cause our client’s type of leukemia. The appellate court explained the proper role of trial judges in ruling on the admissibility of scientific evidence and not only preserves our clients’ right to their day in court, but also sets an important precedent for judges to follow in other cases brought by victims seeking compensation for diseases caused by toxic substances.

This case was brought by our client, Brian Milward, who was diagnosed in 2004 with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL), a sub-variant of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Mr. Milward was exposed to benzene during his long career as a refrigeration technician. After his diagnosis, Mr. Milward and his wife filed a lawsuit against several manufacturers of the benzene-containing products to which he was exposed, seeking compensation for their injuries. Dr. Martyn Smith, a leading expert on the toxic effects of benzene and other chemicals on the body, offered his expert opinion that exposure to benzene can cause APL. But the trial court ruled that Dr. Smith’s opinion inadmissible at trial because it lacked sufficient scientific reliability. In a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel, the court of appeals reversed, holding that it was the jury’s decision—not the judge’s—whether to accept Dr. Smith’s opinion.

In Milward v. Acuity Specialty Products Group, Inc., No. 09-2270 (1st Cir. Mar. 22, 2011), the appellate court held that the district court judge overstepped the boundaries of his gatekeeping function when he excluded the expert testimony. Chief Judge Sandra L. Lynch, who authored the 33-page opinion, detailed a trial judge’s duties when evaluating the admissibility of scientific testimony. The decision explains that when reasonable scientists may disagree, the trial court must admit the evidence for the jury’s consideration. This decision is important because in too many cases, judges have misunderstood their gatekeeping role when evaluating the admissibility of scientific evidence and substituted their own judgment for what is properly the jury’s. The Court of Appeals’ decision provides trial judges with important instruction about the boundaries of their gatekeeping function, ensuring greater fairness for victims of exposure to benzene and other toxic substances.

This decision by the Court of Appeals protects the rights of not only the Milwards, but also of other victims of toxic substances. All of us at Allen Stewart, P.C. are pleased with this decision and proud of our role in helping to protect the rights of people who, through no fault of their own, suffer from diseases caused by exposure to benzene and other toxic substances.

For more information about this important decision, go to today’s press release

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