Daubert Standard -


Mississippi applies the standard set forth in Daubert as modified in Kumho Tire. See Mississippi Transportation Commission v. McLemore, 863 So.2d 31 (Miss. 2003). The MS Supreme Court explained the standard, as follows:

Thus, to summarize, the analytical framework provided by the modified Daubert standard requires the trial court to perform a two-pronged inquiry in determining whether expert testimony is admissible under Rule 702. Pipitone v. Biomatrix, Inc., 288 F.3d 239, 244 (5th Cir.2002). The modified Daubert rule is not limited to scientific expert testimony—rather, the rule applies equally to all types of expert testimony. Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 147, 119 S.Ct. 1167. First, the court must determine that the expert testimony is relevant—that is, the requirement that the testimony must “ ‘assist the trier of fact’ means the evidence must be relevant.” Mathis v. Exxon Corp., 302 F.3d 448, 460 (5th Cir.2002) (citing Fed.R.Evid. 702). Next, the trial court must determine whether the proffered testimony is reliable. Pipitone, 288 F.3d at 244. Depending on the circumstances of the particular case, many factors may be relevant in determining reliability, and the Daubert analysis is a flexible one. Id. Daubert provides “an illustrative, but not an exhaustive, list of factors” that trial courts may use in assessing the reliability of expert testimony. Id.

Also, MRCP 702 and the comments thereto explain that by the 2003 amendment of Rule 702, the Supreme Court clearly recognizes the gate keeping responsibility of the trial court to determine whether the expert testimony is relevant and reliable. This follows the 2000 adoption of a like amendment to Fed. R. Evid., 702 adopted in response to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

It is important to note that Rule 702 does not relax the traditional standards for determining that the witness is indeed qualified to speak an opinion on a matter within a purported field of knowledge, and that the factors mentioned in Daubert do not constitute an exclusive list of those to be considered in making the determination; Daubert’s “list of factors was meant to be helpful, not definitive.” Kumho, 526 U.S. at 151. See also Pepitone v. Biomatrix, Inc. 288 F. 3d 239 (5th Cir. 2002).