Ten Years of Judicial Gatekeeping Under Daubert

Am J Public Health. 2005;95 Suppl 1:S74-80. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.044776.


In the ten years since Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc, the standards for admissibility at trial of expert testimony in general and scientific evidence in particular have become more demanding. Reviews of recent cases and empirical studies of federal judges' and attorneys' practices indicate that judges are more likely to consider the admissibility of expert evidence prior to trial, to inquire more deeply into the reasoning and methodology that supports the expert opinions, and to limit or exclude such evidence from presentation at trial. Studies of published cases confirm this finding. Recent cases consider more difficult questions arising from the differing methodologies used in various areas of science. The current legal framework that assesses admissibility in terms of professional practice outside the courtroom is poorly suited to cases that require expertise across a wide range of specialties and force judges to choose from among different scientific methodologies. Future research should focus on the pretrial screening of expert testimony and interactions between the attorneys and experts in shaping that testimony.

Publication types

  • Legal Case
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Expert Testimony / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Judicial Role*
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Public Policy*
  • Science / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Science / methods
  • Supreme Court Decisions*
  • Time Factors
  • Uncertainty
  • United States