Landmark court ruling discussed


– Photo by John Meiu

Susan Haack (far left), a professor of law, humanities and philosophy at the University of Miami, recently delivered the I. Goodman Cohen Lecture in Trial Advocacy at Wayne State University Law School. Her presentation was titled “Mind the Analytical Gap! Tracing a Fault Line in Daubert.” Happy to welcome Haack to Wayne Law were (left to right) Dean Jocelyn Benson, Prof. Robert A. Sedler and Prof. Erica Beecher-Monas. Haack’s lecture shed light on an irony of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993): that, although this ruling makes it clear that the old Frye Rule is superseded by a new evidentiary régime more hospitable to the admission of expert testimony, it actually makes it more difficult to get this kind of testimony admitted in civil cases. Haack argues that one explanation for this is the mismatch between the categorical concept of admissibility and the gradational character of Daubert’s key concepts of relevance and reliability, which presents judges with a problem about the degree of relevance and reliability to require.


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