On June 7, 2022, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure voted unanimously to approve an amendment to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. This amendment clarifies that the proponent of expert testimony is required to demonstrate its admissibility by a preponderance of the evidence and that experts will not assert a degree of confidence in an opinion that is not derived from sufficient facts and reliable methods. This clarification will assist federal courts in carrying out their gatekeeping function and prevent unreliable junk science from being admitted as expert testimony.

Next, the proposed amendment will go to the Judicial Conference for consideration this fall. After that, the proposed amendment will be reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States and sent in its final form to Congress. Barring action by Congress to disapprove the amendment, the revised rule will take effect on December 1, 2022.

NJCJI would like to thank Michelle Bufano, Esq. of Patterson Belknap for sharing her deep expertise on the subject and for drafting the comment NJCJI submitted to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure earlier this year.