Legal Memorandum: Admissibility of an Expert Testimony

Issue: In Arkansas, does Daubert apply to expert witness testimony?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Expert testimony; Daubert test; Admissible
Jurisdiction: Arkansas
Cited Cases: 665 S.W.2d 258; 112 F.3d 306; 855 S.W.2d 333; 70 F.3d 968; 820 S.W.2d 429; 14 S.W.2d 512; 950 F.2d 643; 313 Ark. 345; 952 F.2d 1005; 855 S.W.2d 897; 173 F.3d 1076; 192 F.3d 750; 863 F.2d 566; 281 Ark. 442; 156 F.3d 952
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 07/01/2000

The relevance and reliability of the testimony a certified professional such as an ergonomist and an expert in building use and safety is discussed in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).  The Supreme Court set forth a relevance and reliability test in Daubert, that would render such expert testimony is admissible.

As a general matter, the question whether a witness is qualified to give expert testimony is within the trial court’s discretion.  B. & J. Byers Trucking, Inc. v. Robinson, 281 Ark. 442, 665 S.W.2d 258, 261 (1984).

  A properly qualified expert’s opinion constitutes substantial evidence unless it is shown that the expert’s opinion is without reasonable basis.  If there is no sound and reasonable basis for expert testimony, the testimony is subject to being stricken.  If, however, the cross-examination shows that the testimony has a weak or questionable basis, that goes to the weight and credibility to be given the testimony rather than to its admissibility. . . .  Whether a witness may give expert testimony rests largely within the sound discretion of the trial judge, and that determination will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion.

Ford Motor Co. v. Massey, 313 Ark. 345, 855 S.W.2d 897, 899 (1993) (emphasis added) (citations omitted).  When the expert’s testimony is grounded in a reasonable basis, it is properly admitted and it is for the jury to decide whether to accept and believe […]

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