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Relationship Between Daubert Challenges and Summary Judgement

January 30, 2013

Daubert standards have made headlines recently, emphasizing how a judge’s role as “gatekeeper” places expert testimony under even more stringent criteria.


  • Reliability requirement of FRE 702
  • Sufficient methodology
  • Not speculative
  • Unbiased

Expert testimony has the inherent potential to be both powerful and misleading. Therefore, in weighing possible prejudice against probative value under FRE 403, a judge has authority to exercise more control over expert witnesses than over lay witnesses.

Expert testimony is a large part of most cases, however the Daubert challenge and exclusion of a leading expert’s testimony does not necessarily mean a motion for summary judgement will be granted. A lay witness may be a way around the failure to have expert testimony.

Lay Witness:

Rule 701 generally states that, if a witness is not testifying as an expert, the testimony is limited to testimony that is (1) rationally based on perception, is (2) helpful, and (3) is “not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702.”

While it is good to know your or the opposing expert’s Daubert history, it doesn’t always lead to a an overall victory. Attorneys must know an expert’s testimony history along with his or her credentials and how to combat Daubert challenges successfully by having a backup plan in place. Lay witnesses, such as contractors who may have witnessed damage for property cases, are just one example.

If you have experience with experts who have had successful testimony, or experience in front of judges that have ruled on Daubert challenges, share your insight by writing a review on Courtroom Insight today!

Click for source and case example.

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