Florida’s legislature recently amended the state’s evidence code to adopt the Daubert standard for admissibility of expert testimony. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s abandonment of the Frye “general acceptance” standard in 1993, Florida until now has continued to employ that standard. With these amendments, Florida joins the majority of states that have modernized and improved their admissibility standards by adopting Daubert or some form of it by statute or common law. The Daubert standard requires the court to determine if the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data and is the product of reliable principles and methods, and if the witness has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts.
The Florida bill and the statutory amendments show the legislature’s explicit intent to pattern section 90.702 of Florida’s Evidence Code after Federal Rule 702, amended in 2000 to incorporate Daubert’s admissibility requirements. The bill also makes clear the legislature’s intent to banish “pure opinion” testimony based on an expert’s own experience, observation or research, which an expert in a Florida state court was free to give without satisfying any general acceptance test, avoiding scrutiny altogether.