Today, Gov. Rick Scott signed two controversial pieces of legislation which overturn nearly century-old standards governing what type of expert witness testimony is admissible in state courts. HB 7015 (“Expert Testimony”) and SB 1792 (“Medical Negligence Actions”), are the two legal reform bills that Scott signed while in Jacksonville on Wednesday.
With Scott's approval of HB 7015, Florida state courts will be limited with respect to the type of expert testimony that can be admitted. The new law abolishes the 90-year old "Frye" standard, which provides that scientific evidence is admissible if it is "generally accepted" as being reliable within the relevant scientific community. HB 7015 provides for a more stringent standard, which will keep some “generally accepted” scientific evidence out of the courtroom. The Frye standard still remains the rule in many other states.
SB 1792 provides that expert witnesses can only testify in medical negligence cases if they have practiced in the same “specialty” that is in question, replacing current law that allows experts to testify so long as they practice in the same general “field.”
Many have argued that both pieces of legislation will make it more difficult and more expensive for injured people to pursue legitimate cases.
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