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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Matt Dietz Co. operates farms in Zapata County and employed Modesto Torres from around 1987 to 1998. Throughout this period, Torres primarily served as a foreman for Dietz on a farming operation of four tracts while living on one of these tracts. Torres was exposed to pesticides by handling and mixing these products. In July 1998, Torres was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. Subsequently, Torres filed suit against Dietz for negligence and gross negligence claiming that Dietz’s failure to provide protective equipment for the handling of dangerous chemicals proximately caused his laryngeal cancer. A jury found that negligence of Dietz proximately caused Torres’ injuries and awarded Torres $3 million for damages sustained in the past and $3 million for future damages. Torres died less than two months after the jury returned the verdict. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Dr. Nachman Brautbar and Dr. Erik Sloman-Moll testified as experts for Torres. Brautbar relied on a medical study referred to as the Colt study in rendering his opinion that Torres’ “exposure to insecticides and pesticides and toxic chemicals was a substantial factor in the development of his laryngeal cancer and its complications.” The Colt study does not reveal an association of more than a doubling of the risk. This study alone cannot support a finding that exposure to pesticides in general causes laryngeal cancer. Twenty three other studies similarly do not quantify a relative risk between exposure to pesticides and any type of cancer. Torres does not explain how Brautbar’s testimony is reliable, nor does the court arrive at such a conclusion. The court concludes there is no evidence of a scientifically accepted methodology that establishes exposure to pesticides in general causes laryngeal cancer. Without a reliable foundation, Brautbar’s opinion is no evidence of general causation. A reliable differential diagnosis generally requires: 1. compiling all possible causes for the patient’s symptoms and 2. eliminating each of these causes until arriving at one that cannot be ruled out or concluding one cause is the most likely among those not excluded. A reliable differential diagnosis in this case would, however, first require establishing that exposure to the alleged chemicals causes laryngeal cancer � a requirement that remains unfulfilled. There is no evidence that exposure to the chemicals in this case is a possible cause of Torres’ laryngeal cancer. Consequently, in the absence of general causation, Brautbar’s and Sloman’s differential diagnosis is no evidence of specific causation. OPINION:Simmons, J.; Stone, Angelini and Simmons, J.J.

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