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Spring 2023
7308 WRS: Scientific Evidence - SANDERS- 15747

Professor(s): Joseph Sanders (FACULTY)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Constitutional and Criminal Law 
Procedure and Practice

Time: 10:30a-12:00p  MW  Location: 221 

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 a lot 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: (Face-to-Face)   The UH registration system instruction mode for this course is listed in parenthesis. After student registration opens, there may be instruction mode changes to this course up through two weeks before the first day of classes for the term, but notice of such changes will be sent to then-registered students. For this instruction mode, instructors and students are expected to normally be physically present in the classroom. If the course has a final examination, it will be in a classroom requiring your physical presence. Other assessment, such as a mid-term exam, may also be in a classroom. Whether this instructor will offer “remote presence” (starting a zoom meeting from the podium computer to enable student remote access on an occasional basis) for part or all of the semester is not known, but students should not rely on an expectation that remote presence will be available



First Day Assignments: Materials

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:

Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: Yes

Experiential Course Type: No

Bar Course: No

DistanceEd ABA: No

Pass-Fail Student Election: Conditional Availability (not for required credits)

Course Materials

Special Case

Course Materials: Prof. Sanders has assembled a set of readings for the seminar that will be available as a packet in the copy center and as PDFs on-line.

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