In 2013 the Florida Legislature moved to require Florida state courts to use the same standards utilized by federal courts in determining whether expert testimony can be heard.  This piece of legislation was favored heavily by business and corporate interests while being generally opposed by plaintiffs’ attorneys (such as this firm) throughout the state.

Recently, Florida Bar leaders have made efforts to ensure that the Florida Supreme Court does not embrace the change.  The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors voted to recommend that the Supreme Court not adopt the “Daubert” standard employed by federal courts and opt instead to maintain the current “Frye” standard which has been in use for decades.  Among the rationale for the challenge, Florida Bar leaders cite costlier hearings about the issue which would cost both attorneys and clients excessive charges, as well as clog the courts.

Proponents of the change contend that switching to the “Daubert” standard would lead to greater consistency throughout the country.

Business groups have maintained that the current “Frye” standard allows so-called “junk science” to be presented to juries.  Conversely, plaintiffs’ attorneys and other opponents of the standard opine that moving towards a stricter standard would make it far more difficult for plaintiffs to compete against well-funded defendants.

As the two sides put forth their arguments regarding the legislation, one thing is clear – expert testimony is often a critical aspect of both civil and criminal cases.  As the change is considered by the Florida Supreme Court, the change in standard could have wide-ranging effects on the way cases are tried and the success of those plaintiffs bringing these lawsuits.

For more discussion on this topic or any other, contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@www.schulaw.com.