Legal Memorandum: Admissibility of Chiropractor as Expert Witness

Issue: In Minnesota, is a chiropractor competent to give expert witness testimony?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Admissibility of an expert witness; Chiropractor
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 504 N.W.2d 59; 450 N.W.2d 359; 179 N.W.2d 288; 392 N.W.2d 890; 578 N.W.2d 757; 215 N.W.2d 52; 298 Minn. 269
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Evid. 702
Date: 12/01/2000

There are two levels of appellate review of evidentiary rulings on expert-witness evidence.

            A district court’s evidentiary ruling on the admissibility of an expert opinion rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and will not be reversed unless it is based on an erroneous view of the law or it is an abuse of discretion.  The district court has “considerable discretion in determining the sufficiency of foundation laid for expert opinion.  Even if evidence has probative value, it is still within the district court’s discretion to exclude the testimony.  This is a very deferential standard.  In fact, we have stated that “[e]ven if this court would have reached a different conclusion as to the sufficiency of the foundation, the decision of the [district court] judge will not be reversed absent clear abuse of discretion.”

Gross v. Victoria Station Farms, Inc., 578 N.W.2d 757, 761 (Minn. 1998) (emphasis added) (citations omitted); accord Kroning v. State Farm Auto. Ins. Co., 567 N.W.2d 42, 45-46 (Minn. 1997); Cornfeldt v. Tongen, 262 N.W.2d 684, 692 (Minn. 1977).  When an abuse of discretion occurs, the complaining party also must establish that it was prejudiced as a result of the ruling.  Benson v. Johnson, 392 N.W.2d 890, 894 (Minn. Ct. App. 1986).

This statement of the standard presents an ambiguity.  While clearly the trial court has discretion on evidentiary ruling, reversal may be based on an abuse of discretion or an erroneous view of the […]

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