Regulatory Science in Rulemaking and Tort: Unifying the Weight of the Evidence Approach
Thomas Owen McGarity
University of Texas at Austin - School of Law
Sidney A. Shapiro
Wake Forest University School of Law
3 Wake Forest J. L.& Pub. Pol. 101 (2013)
U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 404
Energy Center Research Paper No. 2013-07
This article explores how a regulatory agency decides whether scientific evidence is sufficient to meet a risk trigger – the evidentiary burden that is a prerequisite to regulating a toxic substance, and how a court decides whether there is sufficient evidence to allow a jury to consider the issue of general causation in a toxic tort case. We argue both agencies and courts should apply a weight of the evidence approach because there is no meaningful distinction between the regulatory and tort contexts concerning these issues. The courts, however, have tended to use a corpuscular approach in which scientific evidence is evaluated study by study, rather than evaluating the totality of the evidence, which is the methodology of regulatory agencies. Given the nature of available scientific evidence, a corpuscular approach turns Daubert into a policy decision against compensating people who become ill from exposure to toxic chemicals.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 28, 2013 ; Last revised: May 27, 2014
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