After spraying some EcoSmart Organic Pest Control to the foundation and interior of his house, Velio Malozzi went with his wife to a local Italian restaurant. Later that evening, Malozzi experienced nausea, an abnormally high heart-rate and burning in his chest, stomach and throat. Things didn't get better, and Malozzi was diagnosed with laryngeal edema arising from reflux and some other gross things involving phlegm. The doctors concluded that the cause of all of this was 'inhaled chemicals', specifically pesticides. Malozzi sued the manufacturer of the pesticide he had used on the fateful day, alleging that peppermint oil in the product had caused his symptoms: Malozzi v EcoSmart Technologies Inc (EDNY, 31 May 2013).
Feuerstein J reviewed the academic literature on epidemiological causation, starting with Bradford Hill's seminal article on the subject from 1965. The judge considered the likely dose and duration of the peppermint oil inhaled by the plaintiff, the temporal period between inhalation and the onset of adverse effects and other potential causes, all with the aid of expert testimony. The small amount of peppermint oil in the product was, on balance, unlikely to have caused Malozzi's symptoms (which lasted several months), in light of a number of previous episodes of reflux after meals. The plaintiff failed to establish that he suffered from anything more than a nasty kind of indigestion.