On June 28, 1993, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.setting a new standard for the admission of at least some expert testimony in federal courts. The Court held the Federal Rules of Evidence) which Congress had adopted in 1975 supplanted the so-called Frye "general acceptance" test upon which many courts had relied for years.Specifically, the Court said Rule 702 primarily governed the admissibility of scientific testimony. The Court listed four non-exclusive factors which indicate whether such testimony is sufficiently reliable for the jury. The Daubert decision has provoked a landslide of litigation and decisions on expert testimony. Numerous state supreme and appellate courts have followed its reasoning to determine the admission of expert testimony in their trial courts. However, the supreme or appellate courts of at least seven states including California, New York, Illinois and Florida have refused to abandon their own formulations of the Frye standard.
The common law — as interpreted by United States courts in the light of reason and experience — governs a claim of privilege unless any of the following provides otherwise:
- the United States Constitution;
- a federal statute; or
- rules prescribed by the Supreme Court.
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