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No More “Hired Guns” in Florida

February 27, 2012

In response to the growing number of “hired guns” that seem to be appearing in Florida lawsuits, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday aiming to stop these kinds of expert witnesses from testifying in court.

This bill, #HB 243, will raise the standards for expert witness testimony from the current “Frye” standard that Florida has used for decades. According to WCTV Florida,

“With that standard, courts look at whether scientific principles and methodologies used by experts are generally accepted, according to legislative staff analyses.”

According to CBS Miami, #HB 243 introduces the “Daubert” standard, which,

“…looks at whether testimony is based on “sufficient facts or data;” whether it is the “product of reliable principles and methods;” and whether the witness applies the principles and methods “reliably to the facts of the case.”

The “Daubert” standard is currently used in federal courts however as with any bill, not everyone is in favor of this change for expert witnesses. According to CBS,

“Opponents said the new standards benefit deep-pocketed companies fighting civil suits filed by injured people and will lead to costly hearings. Supporters said they just want to ensure the testimony is legitimate.”

Those who oppose the “Daubert” standard also say that it will not be reliable in the courtroom since it imposes the task of becoming “pseudo-scientists” on the judges who are presiding over the case.

Florida’s Budget Committee is scheduled to hear a Florida Senate version of the bill tomorrow, which has already passed one committee. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more from the hearing!

If you have had any experiences working with expert witnesses in the state of Florida, “hired gun” or not, we want to hear your thoughts. Please take a moment to review their work in our Expert Witnesses Directory.

To read the complete article from WCTV Florida, please click here.

To read the complete article from CBS, please click here.

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