Florida Supreme Court Strikes Daubert, Florida is a Frye Jurisdiction
Richard Delisle v. Crane Co., et al.: In an opinion released on October 15, 2018, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the legislatures Daubert standard, and held that the legislature exceeded its authority in adopting statutes that infringed on the authority of the Supreme Court to determine matters of practice or procedure. Their decision affirmed that Frye, not Daubert, is the appropriate test in Florida courts.
In Delisle, the Supreme Court of Florida determined whether chapter 2013-107, section 1, Laws of Florida, which revised section 90.702, Florida Statutes (2015), and which, the Supreme Court, previously declined to adopt, to the extent it was procedural, infringes on the Court’s rulemaking authority. The Supreme Court of Florida explained Section 90.702, Florida Statutes, as amended in 2013, is not substantive because It does not create, define, or regulate a right, and this statute is one that solely regulates the action of litigants in court proceedings.
In Daubert, the United States Supreme Court found that otherwise probative and scientifically valid evidence was being excluded under the Frye standard and the change in rule 702 was necessary to permit additional relevant evidence to be considered even if it was based on scientific methods or principles that were not yet generally accepted.
However, Florida, despite the federal adoption of a more lenient standard in Daubert, has maintained the higher standard of reliability as dictated by Frye. This standard requires a determination, by the judge, that the basic underlying principles of scientific evidence have been sufficiently tested and accepted by the relevant scientific community. To that end, Florida has expressly held that the trial judge must treat new or novel scientific evidence as a matter of admissibility (for the judge) rather than a matter of weight (for the jury).
Overall, Frye is inapplicable to the vast majority of cases because it applies only when experts render an opinion that is based upon new or novel scientific techniques.