Florida Adopts Daubert
On June 4, 2013, Florida Governor, Rick Scott signed HB 7015, joining the Federal Courts and other jurisdictions in adopting the Daubert test for admission of expert testimony.
Just weeks ago, Florida followed the Frye Standard which allowed experts to testify if their expertise was ‚Äúgenerally accepted‚ÄĚ in the field in which it belongs. Many had felt that is allowed ‚Äúphony science‚ÄĚ or strange testimony from so-called ‚Äúexperts to be permitted. It also limited a judge‚Äôs ability to act as a gatekeeper to exclude unqualified experts.
It may have taken 20 years, but since July 1st, testimony in Florida courts will now have to follow the rules set out in Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 509 US 579 (1993).
The Florida Senate summarized the Bill as follows:
Under the Daubert test, when there is a proffer of expert testimony, the judge as a gatekeeper must make a preliminary assessment of whether the reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the underlying facts at issue. The bill adopts the Daubert standard by amending s.¬†90.702, F.S., to prohibit an expert witness from testifying in the form of an opinion or otherwise, including pure opinion testimony, unless:¬†
- ¬†The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data
- The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and¬†¬†
- The witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†case¬†
The bill amends s.¬†90.704, F.S., to prohibit the disclosure of inadmissible facts or data to a jury by the proponent of an expert opinion or by inference unless the court determines that their probative value in assisting the jury‚Äôs evaluation of the expert‚Äôs opinion substantially outweighs their prejudicial effect. As a result of the amendments, the effect of s.¬†90.704, F.S., is conformed to the effect of Federal Rule of Evidence 703.1
Provided by Howard J. Schneider CPA/ABV CVA MAFF