Maryland adopts Daubert factors when considering admissibility of expert testimony
September 30, 2020
MARYLAND CLIENT ADVISORY
In its last opinion of the 2019 term, Maryland’s Court of Appeals, in a 4-3 decision, overruled its prior case law on expert testimony and formally adopted the Daubert reliability factors for all expert testimony. See Rochkind v. Stevenson, No. 47, September Term, 2019. Maryland now joins the super-majority of jurisdictions who follow Daubert.
The underlying dispute involved the admissibility of expert testimony of a pediatrician who had opined that the plaintiff’s ADHD was causally related to lead poisoning as a small child. On appeal, the defendant invited the Court to consider adopting the standard for admitting expert testimony under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
The Court determined Maryland’s current scheme has “led to a duplicative analytical process.” Under Maryland’s prior standard, the trial courts evaluated expert testimony twice – first using Frye-Reed, and then using Maryland Rule 5-702(3). Now, the Court seeks to chart a new course forward under a single analytical standard by which trial courts will evaluate all expert testimony. The impetus behind the decision to adopt Daubert was “to refine the analytical focus when a court is faced with admitting or excluding expert testimony.”
Questions regarding the advisory can be directed to Lauren Upton, at (443) 641-0572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.