Expert testimony can be crucial in complex civil cases. A ruling on whether an expert’s proposed testimony is admissible may mean the difference between the dismissal of thousands of product liability cases and a multibillion-dollar settlement. In a recent Law 360 expert analysis, Alex R. Dahl, general counsel at Lawyers for Civil Justice, discusses the importance of the current proposed amendment to Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
“If adopted, the amendment will provide much-needed clarity that Rule 702 requires judges to decide the questions of sufficiency of an expert’s basis and application of the expert’s methodology, rather than allowing the jury to weigh those issues when deciding how much weight to give the evidence,” Dahl wrote. “The second part of the amendment, requiring courts to find that ‘the expert’s opinion reflects a reliable application of the principles and methods to the facts of the case,’ addresses the problem of overstatement by broadening judicial gatekeeping responsibility to include “the opinion ultimately expressed by a testifying expert.”
ILR’s recent paper, Fact Or Fiction: Ensuring The Integrity Of Expert Testimony, outlines the state of expert evidence standards around the country, explores key issues and concerns supporting a more universal adoption of the Daubert standard for expert evidence and further amendment of Rule 702, and offers recommendations for promoting these changes.