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For decades, California state court judges have allowed juries to hear expert medical causation opinions that would not have passed muster either in federal courts or in other states whose courts follow Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1995), and the admissibility rules enacted consistent with Daubert. California courts have not, until now, mandated a rigorous “gatekeeper” role for their trial judges. The relative ease with which California state courts admitted scientifically questionable science opinions in contentious pharmaceutical and environmental tort cases turned these courts into some of the most congenial forums for enterprising plaintiffs “mass torts” counsel. Remarkably, that is about to change radically, and almost certainly, to the significant advantage of previously at-high-risk corporate defendants.

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