• Daubert Standard Arrives in Kansas Courtrooms
  • October 31, 2014 | Author: John A. Watt
  • Law Firm: Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, L.L.C. - Kansas City Office
  • In a recent construction design case this law firm, along with co-defendants, successfully moved the Court to exclude certain of plaintiff’s expert witnesses. As reported in a prior post, the State of Kansas amended the relevant statutes regarding the submissibility of expert witness opinions on July 1, 2014. The newly modified statutes (K.S.A. §§ 60-456, 60-457, 60-458) now mirror the Federal Rules (FRE 702 and 703) and those well-known standards set out in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993). The impetus for this Motion to Exclude was this recent introduction of the Daubert standard in the State of Kansas and defense counsel’s extensive experience in filing such motions in Federal Court.

    The trial court in Johnson County, Kansas held that two of the plaintiff’s three expert witnesses (an acoustical engineer and a remediation/damages expert) should be excluded under the reliability prong of the Daubert analysis. This signals a change in Kansas procedural law as it relates to expert witnesses.

    Kansas previously followed the Frye standard and therefore most criticisms or impeachment of an offered expert witness would simply be illustrated for the cross-examination of the witness. However, with the new adoption and apparent willingness of the state District Courts to employ the same, experienced defense counsel can use the Daubert standard to exclude expert witnesses whose testing results or other opinions are not sufficiently reliable.