Missouri embraces Daubert standard

BVWireIssue #175-1
April 5, 2017

About a month after Florida turned its back on Daubert, Missouri governor Eric Greitens signed a house bill that adopted the Daubert standard as applicable to expert witnesses. Until this development, the admissibility of expert witness testimony in Missouri was guided by statute. The Missouri Code of State Regulations §490.065.3 required that the facts or data upon which an expert based an opinion "must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reasonably reliable."

Missouri was one of several states that followed neither the Frye standard nor the Daubert standard. North Dakota, Nevada, and Virginia are others.

Those favoring the adoption of Daubert included industry groups and the state’s Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants. The proponents argued that the new standard would improve the reliability of expert witness testimony. Daubert was the “best practice standard” in that it required a judge to serve as gatekeeper to the admission of “sound science,” they said. Opponents contended that judges were able to keep “junk science” out of the courtroom under the existing standard. Following the Daubert standard would only make lawsuits more costly and longer for the parties, they claimed.

According to the Missouri Times, in his State of the State address in January, the governor had said adopting the Daubert standard was one of several major tort reform measures he wanted to accomplish.

Extra: Readers who would like to see the bill can find it here. Also, check out Daubert v. Frye – A State-by-State Comparison, but be aware that it still shows Missouri in limbo.    

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