Ratner v. McNeil-PPC, Inc – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Ratner v. McNeil-PPC, Inc., (91 AD3d 63, 933 NYS2d 323 [2011]), the Court held that the trial judge properly precluded plaintiff's expert witness testimony as to a causal connection between her therapeutic use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the subsequent development of liver cirrhosis where the expert's theory of causation was based mainly by extrapolation from a few observational case studies.

Justice Jonathan Leventhal writing for the unanimous Appellate Division panel recognized that "deduction, extrapolation, drawing inferences from existing data, and analysis are not novel methodologies and are accepted stages of the scientific process." (Id. at 74)

But nevertheless, he went on to add: "a court may conclude that there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered" (id. at 75.)