February 01, 2022

Let Me Google That for You: A Recent Central District of Illinois Opinion Highlights the Limits of Googling by Expert Witnesses Under Rule 702 and Daubert

Faegre Drinker on Products Blog

While we all rely on Google or other internet search engines to find and absorb information quickly these days, a recent decision in the Central District of Illinois highlights the problems for expert witnesses relying on internet research as a methodology. See Sherman v. BNSF Railway Co., Case No. 1:17-cv-01192, 2022 WL 138630 (C.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2022). While Googling is likely a practice that many experts may engage in (though may be loathe to admit it), Google searching alone is a suspect methodology upon which to base expert opinions.

In Sherman, Plaintiff sued Defendant BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF) pursuant to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, alleging that during her employment with BNSF, she was exposed to toxic substances and carcinogens, including asbestos, that caused her to develop rectal cancer.

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