Peter B. Oh


Courts have fashioned various common law standards to determine the admissibility of nonscientific expert evidence. This Article examines these different standards to evince the need for harmony. Part I of this article examines the admissibility tests for nonscientific expert evidence administered by federal courts before Federal Rule of Evidence 702. The first such test appears in Frye v. United States, which establishes only expert knowledge based on a method or principle that has gained sufficient "general acceptance" can be admitted. Part I concludes by discussing the problems that plague these different applied tests and beckon for a single standard. Part II of this Article examines the Supreme Court's attempt to establish Federal Rule of Evidence 702 as this single standard in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm. Part II critically analyzes this case, which involves expert evidence that an anti-nausea drug is a human teratogen. Part III of this Article surveys how federal courts currently assess nonscientific expert evidence. There are two primary tests embraced by federal courts. First, some courts maintain that Daubert's reasoning can be applied to nonscientific expertise. Second, some courts interpret Daubert as being inapplicable to nonscientific expertise and instead rely on Federal Rule of Evidence 702. Part III critically examines the application of these tests. Part IV of this Article proposes a more promising test than the current alternatives. Part IV argues that courts should reconsider the Frye test as the best way to determine the admissibility of nonscientific expert evidence. This article concludes with the assertion the "general acceptance" test is more effective than the current alternatives.


1997 John M. Manos Writing Competition on Evidence

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