California Supreme Court Mandates Daubert-Like "Gatekeeper" Role For California Trial Judges (Sargon v. USC)

A recent California Supreme Court decision may dramatically alter the admissibility of expert testimony in California courts. Affirming the trial court’s exclusion of an expert economist’s speculative and unfounded opinions, the Court relied heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Daubert decision, which had not previously been adopted in California. In fact, the California Supreme Court quoted several passages from Daubert, which mandates that the trial judge act as a “gatekeeper” and scrutinize several factors before admitting expert testimony. In particular, the trial court must examine the expert’s “reasoning and methodology” and ensure that the expert has applied in the courtroom the same level of scientific rigor as would be applied in the expert’s field.  In short, California courts will now apply the Daubert factors alongside the Kelly/Leahy “general acceptance” test; this should raise the bar on the type and quality of expert evidence admitted in California courts. The case is Sargon v. University of Southern California, Cal. Sup. Ct. No. S191550 (Nov. 26, 2012).

Read: "California Supreme Court Mandates Daubert-Like "Gatekeeper" Role For California Trial Judges"

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