07/23/2019 - US News: Florida's Top Court Has Adopted The Federal Daubert Standard

Florida's top court has embraced the federal Daubert standard for the admissibility of expert scientific testimony.

The Florida Supreme Court administratively adopted amendments to the state's evidence laws, to conform to the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Daubertv. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. Under Daubert,
trial judges must ensure expert testimony is the product of a sound methodology before admitting it at trial.

Businesses prefer the Daubert standard because product liability and toxic tort cases have no case under the Daubert standard. The Florida Supreme Court has reversed a prior court's decision to use a nearly 100-year-old standard on expert witness testimony and instead adopted stricter standards currently used by most states.

Will Daubert Affect Insurers?

Defense lawyers say the move could have implications for insurers involved in lawsuits for a variety of different category of business, as well as potentially reduce frivolous suits.Daubert vs. Frye

The Daubert standard was adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 from the case of Daubert v. Merrell
Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It replaced the Frye standard adopted federally after the 1923 case of Frye v. United States.

The Daubert standard is used by judges to determine the eligibility of an expert witness based on the expert's qualifications, as well as the relevance and reliability of the expert's testimony. Empirical written knowledge and fact over opinion is key (read our previous article on Florida) Daubert is considered a higher standard for allowing expert witness testimony than Frye, in which an expert can be allowed to testify based on their opinion if it is considered generally acceptable in the relevant scientific community.

Thirty-six states throughout America are currently using some form of Daubert standard.

Florida courts will implement a multi-faceted test to decide on the admissibility of expert evidence under the Daubert standard.

Florida passed legislation in 2013 to adopt the Daubert standard to, according to the Florida Bar, “ensure that the expert's testimony admitted into evidence is both relevant and reliable." The standard was in effect until 2018 when the then-court ruled it would go back to using Frye. Polemicists successfully argued to the court that the standard made trials more expensive and kept people from being able to access the courts. This has now been dismissed as DAubert makes a come back.