Our Mission and Founding
JuriLytics was founded on the premise that the science presented in courtrooms today is not optimal (and sometimes incorrect), and that having access to peer-reviewed science can give litigators an unparalleled advantage. Our core mission is to increase the quality of science that is presented in the courtroom. We aim to not only help litigators, but also better the judicial system and ultimately society as a whole.
The "founding moment" of JuriLytics came when David was asked to speak at a symposium honoring Judge Jack Weinstein, the famous federal district court judge. In reading part of one of his articles, and being inspired by one of Amit's other endeavors involving peer review, he realized the value that peer review would have in the legal system:
Several years ago, I tried a case involving whole-cell pertussis vaccine. The plaintiff was an infant of four or five months with a history of seizures, who was given a whole cell pertussis vaccination. Her brain, it was later discovered, was profoundly damaged. The cause of her neurological disorder was unclear. The questions posed at trial were whether it was improper to administer the vaccine in view of the seizures and whether the vaccine caused the seizures.
In opposition to the defendant's fully credentialed experts, the plaintiff called a scientist I would consider borderline, under Daubert, in terms of expert credentials. He had the proper degrees and had done some research, but he had published nothing on the subject and had entered the field at the request of plaintiff's attorney. He relied wholly upon secondary sources--a large number of published articles--to prepare himself for cross-examination.
The jury found, nevertheless, for the plaintiff. As a profoundly disabled child, her case was, obviously, very compelling. At that point, I set aside the verdict, taking into account all of the evidence, including the inadequacy, in my view, of the proof presented by the plaintiff's expert. Yet, it was somewhat disquieting not to be able to reach out to the scientific community to obtain an expert who could testify as a “neutral authority” in court.
The second thing that troubled me was that when the case was over, I felt that impartial scientists who knew the field might well agree that the expert retained by the plaintiff should not be allowed to testify on this subject again. I did not know, however, what, if anything, I could do about this. There was no acceptable mechanism for contacting the relevant professional organizations, nor did I have any assurance that those organizations would have been receptive to my communications.(emphasis added)
--Judge Jack Weinstein, Science and the Challenges of Expert Testimony in the Courtroom, 77 Oregon Law Review, 1005, 1009 (1998).