Saturday, March 06, 2004

7th Circuit Reverses Exclusion of Civil Engineering and Human Factors Testimony

In a legal malpractice case, the Seventh Circuit has reversed the trial court's exclusion of testimony from a civil engineering and human factors expert. The lower court barred the expert from testifying that the Cook County government's failure to maintain a road appropriately caused the accident at issue in the underlying litigation. The appellate panel faulted the district court's failure to explain its reasoning, apart from a simple recitation of the Daubert factors that omitted to detail how the district court applied them to the testimony in question. Although the panel left the Daubert issue for the district court to resolve afresh on remand, it strongly hinted that the testimony was well-defended and should be found admissible. See Mihailovich v. Laatsch, No. 01-3885 (7th Cir. Mar. 5, 2004) (Bauer, Manion, & Rovner, JJ.).
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.