The Florida Supreme Court has refused to recognize a 2013 law that was designed to bring the state’s expert witness standard in line with the majority of jurisdictions, holding that the law overreached into the court domain.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182 and ordered reinstatement of an $8 million verdict for the plaintiff, who blamed his mesothelioma on exposure to asbestos in cigarette filters and in his workplace. It was a 4-3 decision.
“We recognize that Frye and Daubert are competing methods for a trial judge to determine the reliability of expert testimony before allowing it to be admitted into evidence,” Justice Peggy Quince wrote in the majority decision, joined by justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Jorge Labarga. “Both purport to provide a trial judge with the tools necessary to ensure that only reliable evidence is presented to the jury. Frye relies on the scientific community to determine reliability whereas Daubert relies on the scientific savvy of trial judges to determine the significance of the methodology used. With our decision today, we reaffirm that Frye, not Daubert, is the appropriate test in Florida courts.”