The ASA’s Missed Opportunity to Promote Sound Science in Court

Sociological Methods & Research, Forthcoming

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2011-18

16 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2011 Last revised: 2 Feb 2015

Gregory Mitchell

University of Virginia School of Law

John Monahan

University of Virginia School of Law

Laurens Walker

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: April 20, 2011

Abstract

The American Sociological Association (“ASA”) filed an amicus brief in Wal-Mart v. Dukes in which the ASA defended the testimony of the plaintiffs’ sociological expert. Unfortunately, the ASA’s portrayal and defense of the method and opinions of this expert do not match the actual method used, and opinions offered, by the expert in the Wal-Mart case. We demonstrate that none of the ASA’s defenses of the expert’s method has merit and that the expert violated basic methodological rules set out by the ASA’s own sources. The opinions to which the expert testified, therefore, lacked a scientific foundation.

Keywords: experts, class certification, employment discrimination, social science and law

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, Gregory and Monahan, John and Walker, Laurens, The ASA’s Missed Opportunity to Promote Sound Science in Court (April 20, 2011). Sociological Methods & Research, Forthcoming; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2011-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1816752

Gregory Mitchell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-243-4088 (Phone)

John Monahan

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-3632 (Phone)

Laurens Walker

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-3834 (Phone)

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