News & CommentScience and the Law

Breast-Implant Ruling Sends a Message

Science  03 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5296, pp. 21
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5296.21a

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When a federal judge in Oregon ruled last month that evidence linking silicone breast implants to autoimmune disorders in about 70 women is too weak to be presented to a jury, he sent a shock through the legal profession. If the ruling holds up, legal experts say it will strike a blow to billions of dollars worth of implant lawsuits nationwide. Some scientists and lawyers also believe that the procedure the judge used to exclude the evidence may provide a model for other high-profile cases where scientific evidence is in dispute.