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Fall 2017
7308 WRS: Scientific Evidence - SANDERS- 21460

Professor(s): Joseph Sanders (FACULTY)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Constitutional and Criminal Law 
Procedure and Practice

Time: 10:30a-12:00p  MW  Location: 113  BLB

Course Outline: The purpose of this seminar is to offer an overview of topics in scientific evidence with a focus on mass and toxic torts. The primary impetus for the seminar is three United States Supreme Court opinions addressing the admissibility of expert testimony. In the first of these cases, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993), the Court determined that the rule in Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923) that established the general acceptance test of the admissibility of scientific evidence did not survive the adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence in 1975. The Daubert court then sketched out the factors trial courts might consider in determining admissibility. In the opinion of many, the “Daubert revolution” has opened a new period in the relationship between science and law. Trial court judges have been invited to take a much more active role in determining admissibility, an invitation that a number of courts have already accepted. The Daubert opinion also has caused people to reconsider how expert testimony should be presented to courts. Although Daubert first emerged and took root in mass tort cases (Daubert concerns the drug Bendectin), its reach has steadily expanded into nearly every area of expert witnessing. Each person in the seminar has two obligations: a) to read the materials and participate in class and b) to write a term paper. As to the first obligation, there is alot of reading. I expect everyone to have read each week material prior to class. If you think this will not be possible, you should not take this course. The grade in the course will be based primarily on the second requirement, the term paper.

Course Syllabus: Syllabus

Course Notes:   Quota=12


First Day Assignments: For the first week please download and read

1. Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923)
2. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993).
3. Faigman, David L. Elise Porter and Michael J. Saks. Check Your Crystal Ball at the Courthouse Door, Please: Exploring the Past, Understanding the Present, and Worrying About the Future of Scientific Evidence, 15 Cardozo Law Review 1799 (1994).

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: Yes

Experiential Course Type:

Bar Course: No