Legal Memorandum: Proffered Expert Testimony in MO

Issue: What are the rules regarding admitting proffered expert testimony in Missouri?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Proffered expert testimony; Rules
Jurisdiction: Missouri
Cited Cases: 932 F.2d 1563; 782 S.W.2d 804; 969 S.W.2d 318; 872 S.W.2d 178
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 06/01/2000

In 1991, Missouri liberalized its rules regarding admitting proffered expert testimony.  A Missouri court assessing the reliability of scientific expert testimony must consider four factors: (1) whether the concept has been tested; (2) whether the concept has been subject to peer review; (3) what the known rate of error is: and (4) whether the concept is generally accepted by the expert’s community.  Pestel v. Vermeer Mfg. Co., 64 F.3d 382 (1995) (citing what has become known as the Daubert rules). 

An expert witness is allowed to rely solely on experiences, readings, and studies.  Liberty Fin. Management Corp. v. Beneficial Data Processing Corp., 670 S.W.2d 40 (Mo. App. E.D. 1984).  In addition, an expert’s testimony is not automatically rendered inadmissible merely because the expert relied on information and opinions of others.  State ex. rel. Misssouri Highway & Transp. Comm’n v. Delmar Gardens of Chesterfield, Inc., 872 S.W.2d 178 (Mo. App. E.D. 1994).

Expert testimony must be compatible with the evidence, Young v. City Power & Light Co., 773 S.W.2d 120 (Mo. App. W.D. 1989), unless an opinion is being solicited in which case the opinion must not be founded on mere surmise, but on facts within the expert’s knowledge or on hypothetical questions embracing proven facts.  Hobbs v. Harken, 969 S.W.2d 318 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998).  It is proper for a court to exclude expert testimony where an expert has no personal knowledge of the facts and […]

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