Daubert Standard -


Uses a hybrid standard; the Frye-Mack standard. State v. Mack, 292 N.W.2d 764 (Minn. 1980) (Held that the expert’s technique must be based on a foundation that is “scientifically reliable.”). Hybrid standard using State v. Mack and Frye v. United States. To be admitted, testimony must (1) involve technique which has gained general acceptance in the scientific community, and (2) the testing must be done properly. An advisory committee is considering whether the Minnesota Supreme Court should replace the state’s version of the Frye standard with the Daubert test.

The state of Minnesota has expressly rejected the Daubert standard and instead, continues to apply the Frye-Mack test for determining the admissibility of scientific expert evidence.
If testimony is based upon expertise grounded in something other than science, trial courts have wide discretion, limited only by a requirement that the testimony be helpful to the jury. Minn. R. Evid. 702 (expert testimony is generally admissible if: (1) it assists the trier of fact and (2) the witness is a qualified expert in a given subject to justify testimony in the form of an opinion). However, if the opinion or evidence involves a scientific test, Minnesota courts apply the Frye-Mack standard. Goeb v. Tharaldson, 615 N.W.2d 800, 810 (Minn. 2000); State v. Hull, 788 N.W.2d 91, (Minn. 2010). The Frye-Mack standard has two requirements: (1) the witness testimony must first “be generally accepted in the relevant scientific community,” and (2) “the particular evidence derived from that test must have a foundation that is scientifically reliable.” Goeb, 615 N.W.2d at 810; Poppler v. Wright Hennepin Co-op Elec. Ass’n, 834 N.W.2d 527, 540 (Minn. Ct. App. 2013).

Leading Case:
Goeb v. Tharaldson, 615 N.W.2d 800 (Minn. 2000)
– In Goeb v. Tharaldson, the tenants of a rental property that had been treated with an insecticide brought a products liability claim against the insecticide manufacturer. Id. at 805. Plaintiffs alleged that they and their minor son were injured by exposure to the insecticide. Id. at 803. The district court excluded plaintiffs’ experts applying both the Frye-Mack and Daubert standards. The decision was affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Review was accepted by the Minnesota Supreme Court for purposes of considering “whether Minnesota should abandon [Frye-Mack in favor of Daubert].” Id. at 808. The court expressly “reaffirm[ed Minnesota’s] adherence to the Frye-Mack standard and reject[ed] Daubert.” Id. at 814. The court then went on to determine that the methodologies used by an expert witness in finding that the tenants suffered harm as a result of the insecticide exposure were foundationally unreliable, and thus, the expert’s testimony was inadmissible. Id. at 808. The court found that “where the expert did not review all pre-exposure medical records and primarily relied on oral history provided by the tenants, did not explain normal results of post-exposure medical tests, and did not point to any independent validation of her methodology,” her opinion failed the Frye-Mack test/standard. Id. at 815-816.