News of the WeekSCIENCE IN THE COURTROOM

Should Engineer Witnesses Meet Same Standards as Scientists?

Science  11 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5383, pp. 1578
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5383.1578a

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Summary

Five years ago, in the Daubert case, the U.S. Supreme Court gave trial judges more authority to throw out testimony from scientists that doesn't meet strict tests of scientific validity. Now the court may be ready to rule on whether judges should apply the same rules to testimony from other kinds of technical experts, an issue which has divided lower courts. The new case, Kumho v. Carmichael, involves the testimony of an engineer who claimed that a defective tire led to a fatal accident. The first judge rejected the expert testimony for not meeting the Daubert criteria, but an appellate court ruled that the standards did not apply in this case.

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