Washington Law Review


In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the United States Supreme Court held that the Federal Rules of Evidence had not implicitly incorporated the general acceptance, or Frye, test for scientific evidence. Instead, the Court interpreted Rule 702 to mean that judges should admit challenged scientific testimony only after determining that its underlying method or theory is scientifically valid. This Note argues that the essence of the Daubert decision is that judges must ascertain whether or not the studies underlying proffered testimony have been performed in accordance with sound scientific principles. The Note analyzes several cases to illustrate appropriate and inappropriate applications of the new standard. Finally, the Note suggests a three-stage inquiry that will enable judges to elicit the information necessary for adequate evaluation of scientific studies.

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