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New Rules For Expert Testimony Considered By Legislature

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida House of Representatives are sick of hired guns being brought into the state for lawsuits and took aim at those outside experts in a new bill passed Friday.

According to the News Service of Florida, the House passed a bill that will create tougher standards for expert-witness testimony in court cases. Florida, which already has pushed through tort reform, would add this element to make it even tougher to sue businesses in the state.

Opponents said the new standards benefit deep-pocketed companies fighting civil suits filed by injured people and will lead to costly hearings. Supporters said they just want to ensure the testimony is legitimate.

A Florida Senate version of the bill is scheduled to be heard by the Budget Committee next Tuesday and has already passed one committee.

The new standard will be the “Daubert” standard applied in federal courts. The test looks at whether testimony is based on “sufficient facts or data;” whether it is the “product of reliable principles and methods;” and whether the witness applies the principles and methods “reliably to the facts of the case.”

Detractors of the new law said it will put judges in the precarious position of having to become pseudo-scientists when conducting Daubert hearings.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

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