Admission of Expert Testimony

The role of the expert witness is based on education, training, and experience that gives the expert knowledge in a particular discipline. The United States Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993) described the limits of expert scientific testimony and endorsed the Federal Rules ofEvidence (United States) that had broadened the admissibility of scientific testimony to include theories that were not widely held. The Daubert decision rejected the restrictive standard that permitted the judge to exclude expert testimony that the judge found was not "sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field to which it belongs" (Frye v. United States, 1923). However, the U.S. Supreme Court also put limits on "the admissibility of purportedly scientific evidence" by requiring the trial judge to determine whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is scientifically valid and whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the facts in issue (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, p. 2796). This gatekeeping function of the judge on expert scientific testimony may lead to judges who appoint their own experts to examine the experts put forward by opposing parties in the litigation.

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