April might be the cruelest month according to T.S. Eliot, but the last month hasn’t been very kind to plaintiffs’ expert Nicholas Jewell, Ph.D. As we posted recently, at the beginning of December, Prof. Jewell was booted from the Zoloft MDL. See generally In re Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrocloride) Products Liability Litigation, 2015 WL 7776911 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 2, 2015). Only two weeks earlier, however, he was also given the bum’s rush in In re Lipitor (Atorvastatin Calcium) Marketing, Sales Practices & Products Liability Litigation, ___ F. Supp.3d ___, 2015 WL 7422613 (D.S.C. Nov. 20, 2015). His being shown the door in two MDLs in two weeks is pretty impressive defense work. Anybody out there in a position to turn this brace into a hat trick?
Prof. Jewell is a statistician, not a medical doctor. Lipitor, 2015 WL 7422613, at *14 (“Prof. Jewell is a statistician, not a medical doctor or medical professional. He has no expertise in diabetes, has never treated participants of any kind, and is not a clinician.”). As in Zoloft, the Lipitor plaintiffs called him in to second-guess the statistical bona fides of studies involving the drug and condition (diabetes) in question. As we discussed in detail in the Zoloft post, Prof. Jewell started with the “a priori opinion” needed by his plaintiff-side paymasters and “t[ook] a results-driven approach . . ., molding his methodology and selectively relying upon data so as to confirm his preconceived opinion.” Zoloft, 2015 WL 7776911, at *16. Thus, it’s no surprise at all that he committed the same statistical sins in Lipitor:
The Court finds that Prof. Jewell’s analysis of the [statistical] data was results driven, that Prof. Jewell’s methodology and selection of relevant evidence changed based on the results they produced, and that Prof. Jewell chose to ignore and exclude from his report his own analyses that did not support his ultimate opinions. It is apparent to the Court that rather than conducting statistical analyses of the data and then drawing a conclusion from these various analyses, Prof. Jewell formed an opinion first, sought statistical evidence that would support his opinion and ignored his own analyses and methods that produced contrary results.
Lipitor, 2015 WL 7422613, at *18.