Legal Memorandum: Evaluating Expert Testimony in FL

Issue: Under Florida law, how should an offer of expert testimony be evaluated by the court?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Expert testimony; Inference and opinion
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 526 U.S. 137; 450 F.3d 756; 401 F. 3d 1233; 602 F. 3d 1245; 450 F. 3d 756; 138 So. 3d 499; 401 F.3d 1233; 35 So. 3d 494; 509 U.S. 579; 522 U.S. 136; 147 So. 3d 537; 387 F. 3d 1244; 387 F.3d 1244
Cited Statutes: Fla. Stat. § 90.701, § 90.702
Date: 06/01/2015

Fla. Stat. § 90.701 TA l "Fla. Stat. § 90.701" s "Fla. Stat. § 90.701" c 2  provides:

If a witness is not testifying as an expert, the witness’s testimony about what he or she perceived may be in the form of inference and opinion when:


(1) The witness cannot readily, and with equal accuracy and adequacy, communicate what he or she has perceived to the trier of fact without testifying in terms of inferences or opinions and the witness’s use of inferences or opinions will not mislead the trier of fact to the prejudice of the objecting party; and


(2) The opinions and inferences do not require a special knowledge, skill, experience, or training.


(emphasis added).

The trial court has broad but not unlimited discretion in deciding whether to admit expert testimony.  Though no Florida case has been identified that clearly sets forth the standard of review for Daubert objections, the abuse of discretion standard appears to govern.  Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., 509 U.S. 579, 599 (1993).  See also Alvarez v. State, 147 So. 3d 537, 542 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)  TA l "Alvarez v. State, 147 So. 3d 537 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)" s "Alvarez v. State, 147 So. 3d 537, 542 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)" c 1 (standard of review for admissibility of evidence is abuse of discretion); General Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 138-39 (1997)  TA l "General Electric […]

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