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Inc. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals

Significance, Expert Witnesses--are They Really Experts?, Further Readings


William Daubert, et ux.


Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Petitioners' Claim

The standard for determining the admissibility of expert testimony in court set by Frye v. United States was superseded by Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Under Rule 702, the expert testimony that was excluded from trial by the trial court should have been included.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Michael H. Gottesman

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Charles Fried

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun (writing for the Court), Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

28 June 1993


The standard for admission at trial of expert testimony is not whether the expert's proffered testimony is based on science that is generally accepted in the expert's particular scientific community. Instead, the question of whether expert testimony should be admitted must be decided according to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.


The Daubert ruling made it easier for parties to introduce expert testimony at trial. Before Daubert, parties could only use expert testimony that was considered by the judge to be generally accepted in the scientific community. Daubert made it possible for parties to introduce experts in newer, less traditional disciplines, which consequently expanded the amount of information available to judges and juries in their fact-finding duties.

Related Cases

  • Frye v. United States, 54 App.D.C. 46 (1923).


"Expert Witnesses Often Are Keys to Trial." USA Today, April 1998.

Wilson, James Q. "Keep Social-Science `Experts' Out of the Courtroom." Chronicle of Higher Education, June 6, 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994