Many courts now fall short in their adherence the standards for the admission of opinion testimony in Federal Rule of Evidence 702. Too often, courts do not adequately exercise their “gatekeeping” obligation to ensure that expert testimony is the product of sufficient data and reliable methods. This practice deviates from Rule 702’s requirements and the allocation of responsibility between the judge and the jury for deciding preliminary questions under Rules 104(a) (the judge decides whether evidence is admissible) and 104(b) (the jury decides how much weight to give the evidence). The distinction between these tests as applied to expert testimony is often unclear in the caselaw.
Confusion about the judicial role in assessing the 702 requirements results in the admission of unreliable opinion testimony that misleads juries, undermines civil justice, and erodes stakeholders’ confidence in the courts. A change to the rule is needed, and that’s why LCJ advocated for and supports adoption of the Rule 702 amendment that the federal Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure recently voted unanimously to approve.
Click above to learn why you should stop calling them Daubert motions and to learn more about Rule 702 Reforms.
Learn more by reading the below comments and related research on the topic:
pRATT mAKES cASE fOR eXPERT eVIDENCE aDMISSIBILITY rULES
LCJ emeritus member Tim Pratt argues for adoption of the clarifying amendment on Rule 702 and similar state expert evidence rules in the current issue of Today’s General Counsel. Pratt highlights the “alarming number of opinions from trial judges that have held that questions relating to the sources of the expert’s opinion affect the weight, not the admissibility of that testimony,” citing LCJ’s groundbreaking 2020 study of misapplication of Rule 702. Pratt argues the amendment “warrants final approval by the U.S. Supreme Court,” and urges state court adoptions of similar expert admissibility rules to fix similar issues and to “provide important consistency between state and federal systems.” Tim Pratt’s article can be found here.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in RE: Mirena IUS Levongogestrel-Related Products Liability Litigation (No. II)
LCJ Applauds Unanimous Approval of Amendment to Rule 702 by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure
June 7, 2022
June 7, 2022