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05 April 2018

The Use and Misuse of Bradford Hill in U.S. Tort Law

Fellows Carl Cranor and David Gee, together with Raymond Neutra, have published an article in Jurimetrics, the American Bar Association's Journal of Law, Science and Technology:

The Use and Misuse of Bradford Hill in U.S. Tort Law , 58 Jurimetrics J. 127-162 (2018).

In 1965 Austin Bradford Hill delivered the Presidential Address to the Royal Society of Medicine in London, England, articulating an important methodology for assisting causal inferences from epidemiological studies. This methodology has come to be utilized in civil (personal or tort) litigation by both plaintiffs and defendants and interpreted by U.S. judges, who now have enhanced duties to review scientific testimony. Unfortunately, some litigants and judges fail to understand and utilize the methodology as articulated by Hill. Importantly, his methods are more than recommendations from an important scientist; they are well anchored in probability theory providing a more solid foundation. Consequently, those who err both misapprehend his recommendations and aspects of standard probability theory. The legal import of these errors can easily disadvantage injured parties seeking legal compensation for harm. The article seeks to correct numerous errors and better guide scientists and courts who use Hill's considerations in assessing causation.

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