Sunday, February 01, 2004

Recap of Federal Appellate Decisions in January

January was one of the busiest months on record for federal appellate courts addressing Daubert questions, with sixteen decisions handed down, including eight published ones. Little new ground was broken, except perhaps in United States v. Casas, No. 02-1623 (1st Cir. Jan. 20, 2004) (excluding "overview" evidence by law enforcement officer). But some longstanding statistical trends continued. The Fourth Circuit, for example, has yet to reverse a decision excluding expert evidence in this millennium, having affirmed on 26 of 26 occasions. Over the same time period, meanwhile, the Sixth Circuit has yet to reverse a decision admitting expert evidence, affirming such rulings 27 out of 27 times.
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.