Missouri’s HB 153 became law recently, supplanting the expert witness screening standard set out in the Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705. Missouri’s new expert witness standard effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal cases to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
Until the law enactment, R.S.Mo. 490.065 has set forth the requirements for admission of expert testimony in Missouri state courts. In its present form, the language of the statute has varied significantly from the familiar expert witness standard set forth in the Federal Rules of Evidence and the rules of numerous sister states that track the federal rules.
Missouri appellate decisions have noted on occasion that Daubert and its progeny could provide “guidance” when the federal rules and the Missouri rules match up. See, e.g. State Bd. of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146, 155-156 (Mo. 2003) (Wolff, J, concurring in part and dissenting in part), and Goddard v. State, 144 S.W.3d 848, 852-853 (Mo. App. S.D. 2004).
In some cases, the Missouri courts have stated that Daubert did not cover the admissibility of expert testimony in Missouri cases. See, e.g., McGuire v. Seltsam, 138 S.W.3d 718, at fn. 3 (Mo. 2004).
When HB 153 takes effect, in August 2017, Daubert will be the standard for admissible expert testimony. In federal courts around the country, Daubert has for decades been considered a fair and effective standard for assessing the admissibility of expert testimony. In Illinois, Frye remains the way the courts address the admission of expert witnesses along with Illinois Rules of Evidence. For some trial attorneys in Missouri the law change in how expert witnesses are vetted will be a change that settles how the process will be conducted.
Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling civil jury trials, medical malpractice cases, catastrophic injury cases, birth trauma cases, product defects cases and truck accident cases for individuals, families and loved ones for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding counties and municipalities including Flossmoor, Vernon Hills, Lansing, Lemont, Clarendon Hills, Romeoville, Joliet, Elgin, Aurora and Highwood, Ill.
Related blog posts: