Published on:

Georgia’s Adoption and Application of Federal Daubert Standard in Expert Witness Cases

It has been almost exactly eight years since the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the federal “Daubert” standard that was adopted in 2005. The Daubert standard is what a court applies when determining whether an expert witness will be permitted to testify on a given subject at trial.

red-car-1418847Under the standard, the district courts are supposed to “act as gatekeepers” when evaluating expert witnesses, and they may only allow testimony if it is both “reliable and relevant.” To do this, the district courts must conduct a thorough evaluation of the expert testimony. The “gatekeepers” must make a determination regarding whether (1) the expert is competently qualified to address the matters he intends to address; (2) the methodology used is sufficiently reliable; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of fact through scientific, technical, or specialized expertise.

Additionally, the courts must address whether (1) the expert’s theory has been tested; (2) the theory has been publicized and made subject to peer evaluation; (3) the rate of error has been addressed; and (4) it is generally accepted within the scientific community. Often, courts will also address whether there are other types of evidence to support the expert witnesses’ testimony, such as cases, anecdotal evidence, and peer-reviewed studies or research. In many situations, the crux of a plaintiff’s or defendant’s argument rests solely on an expert witness’ testimony. As a result, it is very important that plaintiffs have an attorney who can acquire, vet, and prepare an expert witness to testify.

State Court of Appeals Preclude Two Expert Witnesses in Birth Injury Lawsuit

The Court of Appeals in New York recently released its opinion regarding a birth injury lawsuit stemming from 1992. According to the opinion, in 1992, the plaintiff was born with significant developmental and physical impairments. When the plaintiff turned 16, he brought a personal injury lawsuit against BMW, claiming that his disabilities were a result of unleaded gasoline vapor to which he was exposed in utero.

The plaintiff went on to call expert witnesses to discuss the gas leakage and how it affected his mental and physical health while he was still in his mother’s womb. The expert witnesses found that the gasoline vapors were related to an elevated risk of defects. The defendant moved to preclude all of this testimony. BMW argued that the expert witnesses’ opinions were based on novel theories that did not adhere to generally used principles. This particular jurisdiction used the “Frye” standard instead of the “Daubert” standard used by many other jurisdictions. The lower court denied the defendant’s motions, but the Supreme Court eventually granted the defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of the two expert witnesses. They found that the expert witnesses did not rely on generally accepted methodologies.

Have You or Your Child Suffered Birth Injuries Because of Another’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has suffered birth injuries as a result of another party’s negligence or medical malpractice, you should contact an attorney to discuss your rights and remedies. Expert witnesses are crucial and required in these sorts of cases. Without a proper expert witness, it is less likely that a plaintiff will be successful in their personal injury claim. An attorney at Miller Legal Services can assist you in acquiring and preparing an expert witness to testify on your behalf. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered. Contact an attorney at Miller Legal Services at 770-284-3727 to schedule a free initial consultation.

See Related Blog Posts:

Negligent Drivers Injured in Georgia Auto Accidents May Still be Entitled to Compensation, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2016.

State Supreme Court Finds County May Be Liable for Damages after Failing to Trim Bushes at Intersection, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2016.