New Jersey’s court rule governing the admissibility and review of expert testimony has remained unchanged since 1991. In this same period the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Uniform Rules of Evidence, numerous state evidence rules, and our own case law have all changed to reflect the increased importance and use of expert testimony. At NJCJI’s urging, the NJ Supreme Court asked its Committee on the Rules of Evidence to take a closer look at the state’s laws governing this issue.
The court asked the committee to determine:
- (1) If “N.J.R.E. 702 and related case law are so unclear that New Jersey’s trial courts are applying inconsistent standards in admitting expert testimony” and,
- (2) “whether current law is creating other problems, such as attracting a disproportionate number of negligence cases to the State, especially mass tort cases, that might otherwise be filed in other jurisdictions.”
Earlier this year the committee released its report answering the court’s questions, and now the court has released the public comments it received on the report.
In our comments, we asked the court to consider the report an opportunity to adopt the federal rule governing expert testimony, commonly called the Daubert rule.
The Daubert trilogy and Federal Rule 702 now represent a settled and well-defined body of case law, applicable in all federal and the vast majority of state courts. Consistency and predictability in the admissibility of expert testimony would only increase if New Jersey were to adopt the standard now in use across so many jurisdictions.