A proposed amendment to Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which governs the admissibility of expert testimony in federal court, could clarify the evidentiary burden on proponents of expert testimony and a court’s role regarding its admissibility. Motions under Rule 702, frequently called Daubert motions after the Supreme Court’s opinion Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., are used to limit or otherwise exclude an expert’s testimony to a jury. These motions are often critical to a case’s success, especially in fields that rely heavily on experts such as antitrust, product liability, toxic torts, and environmental litigation. An amendment to Rule 702 currently under consideration looks to clarify the proper evidentiary standard for such motions.
Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which governs the admissibility of expert testimony, was most recently amended in 2000 in response to Daubert and its progeny. In response to concerns about misapplication, the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence has been considering whether Rule 702 is due for an update.