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Missouri Adopts Daubert Standard Governing Admissibility of Expert Opinion Evidence

On March 28, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed House Bill 153 into law, repealing Section 490.065 RSMo governing the admissibility of expert witness opinion testimony and replacing it with provisions mirroring the expert evidence standard applied in federal courts and the majority of other state courts.

Prior to this revision, often referred to as the "Daubert" standard, an expert's opinion only had to be based on scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge that would assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. The facts or data relied upon by the expert to form his opinion only had to be "of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject." (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 490.065) 

As revised, Section 490.065 removes the "reasonably relied upon" criteria and replaces it with the heightened requirement that the Court find:

  1. The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

  2. The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

  3. The expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

The revision also adopts provisions modeled after Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 703 ("Bases of an Expert"), Rule 704 ("Opinion on an Ultimate Issue"), and Rule 705 ("Disclosing the Facts or Data Underlying an Expert").

As noted by proponents of the revision, including the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various medical, insurance and business entities, the revised section aligns Missouri with the standard used in federal courts and the majority of states. It provides a "best practice" whereby the judge acts as a gatekeeper to ensure that expert opinion based only on sound science reaches the jury, helping to increase the reliability of expert witness testimony.

The Missouri Senate passed House Bill 153 on March 15, 2017 (Yes: 21; Noes: 11), and Gov. Greitens signed the bill into law on March 28, 2017.

The Missouri Senate had previously approved legislation on May 25, 2016, adopting the Daubert standard. See MO Senate Bill 591 (2016). That bill, however, was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon on June 28, 2016.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California

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Nicole Behnen, Polsinelli Law Firm, Product Liability Litigation Attorney
Shareholder, Practice Vice-Chair

Nicole Behnen takes pride in helping clients in the defense of lawsuits involving products liability, premises liability and toxic torts. Nicole serves as Vice Chair of the firm’s national Products Liability and Toxic Tort practice. She serves as regional and local counsel for several major asbestos defendants. Nicole also represents clients in state and federal courts in Missouri and Illinois. She has been involved in asbestos litigation since 1996 and has extensive litigation experience in cases involving benzene, perchloroethylene, chrome, and other industry exposures...

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Aaron Chickos focuses his practice on defending companies against toxic and mass tort claims. Aaron has experience representing a diverse clientele in a range of high profile, complex litigation and arbitration matters in a variety of industries, including: 

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  • Manufacturing

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  • Financial services

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Luke J. Mangan, Polsinelli PC, Toxic Tort Attorney, Complex Litigation Attorney
Shareholder

Luke Mangan is a trial attorney and shareholder in the firm's Toxic and Mass Tort practice. With nearly 15 years of experience in the courtroom and numerous jury trials, his extensive knowledge in the field of toxic and mass tort litigation helps clients manage complex litigation and take cases to a jury when necessary.

Luke partners with the companies he represents to develop and implement proactive and efficient strategies to help them safely navigate what can be dangerous waters: toxic and mass tort litigation.

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