In “My Cousin Vinny,” the 1992 Hollywood film, the trial judge qualifies actress Marisa Tomei’s character, Mona Lisa Vito, an unemployed hairdresser, as a general automotive expert based on her erstwhile experience of working in her father’s garage. For some practitioners who graduated law school after 1992, this film serves as a fun adminicle to learn the nuances of expert evidence admissibility as delineated in Federal Rule of Evidence 702. All federal courts adopted this rule in 1993 via the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Guidance on Expert Opinion Testimony in State Courts
Making the admissibility of expert testimony enjoyable to learn, Daubert v. Frye: Admissibility of Expert Testimony is the ABA Section of Litigation’s Trial Evidence Committee first 50-state survey of admissibility of expert testimony. Much like Mona Lisa Vito’s testimony, what makes this book entertaining is the depth of knowledge shared with its audience and the skilled delivery of that knowledge. For such a heavy subject matter, this slender 209-page book sets forth the legal standards by which courts in all 50 states allow expert testimony to be considered by juries. No chapter is more than two full pages long, yet ample detail is given to provide the reader with enough gear to tackle an evidentiary issue that may arise in a particular state.
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