Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Says “Any Exposure” Is Not Evidence of Specific Causation Under Frye

May 30, 2012
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has dealt a unanimous blow to plaintiffs’ asbestos lawyers, rejecting on Frye grounds the theory that “any exposure” to an asbestos product is a substantial cause of every plaintiffs’ harm. But the even bigger impact may come from what Betz v. Pneumo Abex LLC does for non-asbestos defendants raising Frye challenges to plaintiffs’ specific causation experts. Betz clarifies that the concept of “novel” scientific evidence is a “reasonably broad” one in Pennsylvania and puts plaintiffs to their burden of showing that a particular product did more than pose a general risk of harm — it actually substantially contributed to a particular injury. In this update, we discuss Betz and how it might impact future cases involving a broad range of products.