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News Posted on March 6, 2012

Law Review Symposium Examines 'The Daubert Hearing'

The 2012 UC Davis Law Review Symposium drew an outstanding turnout of faculty, students, alumni, and other legal professionals to the Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom on March 2 for "The Daubert Hearing: From all the Critical Perspectives." About 200 attended the symposium, and many more watched the proceedings via a live webcast. The symposium included a demonstration Daubert hearing featuring a distinguished set of practitioners and academic experts.

Following introductory remarks from Professor Edward Imwinkelried, David L. Faigman, Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Hastings and author of Modern Scientific Evidence, set the stage for the demonstration, explaining that the Daubert standard and hearing take their names from the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which adopted a new empirical validation test for the admissibility of scientific evidence. "The basic holding of Daubert is that the trial court judge has a responsibility to examine the methodologies and principles underlying proffered expert testimony and determine whether those underlying principles are reliable and valid," said Faigman.

Following his remarks, the demonstration hearing took place with the Honorable James Rosenbaum, a retired U.S. District Judge from the District of Minnesota, presiding.  The demonstration began with opening arguments from Bert Black, a distinguished plaintiff's attorney and coauthor of one of the leading articles on Daubert in Texas Law Review, and Robert Smith, a veteran defense attorney from Maryland who specializes in major cases involving expert testimony.  Direct and cross examination of the witness for the defense followed, with Dr. Sander Greenland, Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Statistics at UCLA, serving in that role.  The afternoon session included direct and cross examination of the witness for the plaintiff, played by Dr. William Toscano, Professor and Division Head of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota, followed by a ruling from the judge, and a concluding panel discussion with all of the participants.