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JAMES M. BECK is Reed Smith's only Senior Life Sciences Policy Analyst, resident in the firm's Philadelphia office. He is the author of, among other things, Drug and Medical Device Product Liability Handbook (2004) (with Anthony Vale). He wrote the seminal law review article on off-label use cited by the Supreme Court in Buckman v. Plaintiffs Legal Committee. He has written more amicus briefs for the Product Liability Advisory Council than anyone else in the history of the organization, and in 2011 won PLAC's highest honor, the John P. Raleigh award. He has been a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) since 2005. He is the long-time editor of the newsletter of the ABA's Mass Torts Committee.  He is vice chair of the Class Actions and Multi-Plaintiff Litigation SLG of DRI's Drug and Device Committee.  He can be reached at  His LinkedIn page is here.

Over the last month, Bexis attended both the Hollingsworth Firm’s annual toxic tort litigation defense seminar and the Lawyers for Civil Justice spring meeting.  Both meetings featured discussions on how the new amendments to Fed. R. Evid. 702 were faring in court.  We’ve also written several blogposts (links below) about favorable applications of the new rule, which became effective December 1, 2024.  The amendments having been in effect now for several months, we decided to see whether they were having the Rules Committee’s desired effect of toughening up judicial consideration of expert testimony under Rule 702.  So we’re taking a more systematic look at the judicial response to the 2023 amendments.Continue Reading How Are the Recent Rule 702 Amendments Faring in Court?

We continue to be cautiously optimistic that the recent amendments to Fed. R. Evid. 702 – enacted because too many courts had been too flaccid for too long in admitting dubious “expert” testimony – will actually improve things in the courtroom.  Our latest data point is In re Paraquat Products Liability Litigation, ___ F. Supp.3d ___, 2024 WL 1659687 (S.D. Ill. April 17, 2024).  While Paraquat is not drug/device litigation (the substance is a widely used herbicide), the Rule 702 analysis has broad applicability – as demonstrated by the decision’s reliance (in part) on the Acetaminophen decision that we discussed here.Continue Reading Amended Rule 702 – Eradicates Invasive Experts on Contact

As we’ve discussed, such as here, Fed. R. Civ. P. 702 was amended in late 2023, because the Civil Rules Advisory Committee concluded that too many courts were erroneously admitting expert testimony that proponents had not established was reliable.  It does appear that at least some courts are cracking down.  Here’s one from an Eighth Circuit court, which is significant since the Eighth Circuit was one of the worst offenders under the prior version of Rule 702.Continue Reading Frequent Flier P-Side Expert Excluded Under Amended Rule 702

We have been following – and commenting about − the unprecedented attacks on the FDA’s authority to approve drugs (and by extension all the products the agency regulates) in the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA litigation pretty much since the first bizarre district court rulings about a year ago in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, 668 F. Supp.3d 507 (N.D. Tex. 2023), aff’d in part & vacated in part, 78 F.4th 210 (5th Cir. 2023), cert. granted in part and denied in part, 144 S. Ct. 537 (2023) (hereafter “AHM I” and AHM II”).Continue Reading A Couple of Thoughts about the Comstock Act

One of the blogposts that generated a lot of “Thanks, I needed that” responses from our readership was our 2022 post, “Remote Depositions in MDLs.”  For that reason, we have updated it by adding references to additional MDL orders on that subject that have been entered since early 2022.  We pay particular attention to MDL orders because, due to their stakes, every procedural jot and tittle is gone over with a fine-toothed comb.  The “litigate everything” mentality in MDLs produces the most comprehensive consideration of issues that arise in remote depositions generally.  We asked one of our crack legal assistants to look for additional MDL orders during this time frame to see what MDL transferee judges – advised by the parties – have had to say most recently about the conduct of remote deposition.Continue Reading Remote Depositions in MDLs 2.0

Here is the latest guest post from our Reed Smith colleague, Kevin Hara. He examines whether a prevailing party in litigation can recover, as “costs,” the expenses of witness depositions conducted remotely – a question that has arisen with increasing frequency since the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a general trend towards use of remote depositions. Since our clients could be on either side of this issue, Kevin’s research addresses both sides. As always, our guest bloggers deserve all the credit (and any blame) for their efforts.Continue Reading Guest Post – Are Remote Deposition Costs Recoverable by the Prevailing Party?  Maybe, Yes, Maybe, No.