On March 18, 2013, the United States Supreme Court declined to review the case of an expert witness who was personally seeking to challenge the decision of a trial court excluding his testimony in a personal injury lawsuit.
Dr. David Egilman had been offered as an expert witness to link Plaintiff’s respiratory injury to the chemical diacetyl, which is blamed for “popcorn lung.” The California federal judge presiding over the case at the trial level refused to allow Dr. Egilman’s testimony, explaining that he had failed to provide proper scientific support for his opinions and relied upon “foundational assumptions.”
Dr. Egilman, independently and through personal counsel, sought review of the trial judge’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He claimed the trial judge had issued “baseless and defamatory attacks” in determining his testimony to be unreliable. Dr. Egilman argued that the refusal to admit his testimony, as well as the accompanying criticism of his opinions, damaged his reputation and prospects of future employment as a forensic expert. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal, holding that Dr. Egilman did not have standing to seek review of the trial court’s decision because he was not a party to the underlying action.
Subsequent to the Ninth Circuit’s dismissal of his appeal, Dr. Egilman petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari. The Supreme Court, however, denied the petition, ending Dr. Egilman’s quest to have the trial court’s ruling reviewed.