Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses.
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the experts scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge is beyond that possessed by the average layperson;
(b) the experts scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; and
(c) the experts methodology is generally accepted in the relevant field.
Pa.R.E. 702(a) and (b) differ from F.R.E. 702 in that Pa.R.E. 702(a) and (b) impose the requirement that the experts scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge is admissible only if it is beyond that possessed by the average layperson. This is consistent with prior Pennsylvania law. See Commonwealth v. OSearo, 466 Pa. 224, 229, 352 A.2d 30, 32 (1976).
Pa.R.E. 702(c) differs from F.R.E. 702 in that it reflects Pennsylvanias adoption of the standard in Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923). The rule applies the general acceptance test for the admissibility of scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge testimony. This is consistent with prior Pennsylvania law. See Grady v. Frito-Lay, Inc., 576 Pa. 546, 839 A.2d 1038 (2003). The rule rejects the federal test derived from Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
Pa.R.E. 702 does not change the Pennsylvania rule for qualifying a witness to testify as an expert. In Miller v. Brass Rail Tavern, Inc., 541 Pa. 474, 480-81, 664 A.2d 525, 528 (1995), the Supreme Court stated:
The test to be applied when qualifying a witness to testify as an expert witness is whether the witness has any reasonable pretension to specialized knowledge on the subject under investigation. If he does, he may testify and the weight to be given to such testimony is for the trier of fact to determine.
Pa.R.E. 702 does not change the requirement that an experts opinion must be expressed with reasonable certainty. See McMahon v. Young, 442 Pa. 484, 276 A.2d 534 (1971).
Pa.R.E. 702 states that an expert may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise. Much of the literature assumes that experts testify only in the form of an opinion. The language or otherwise reflects the fact that experts frequently are called upon to educate the trier of fact about the scientific or technical principles relevant to the case.
Adopted May 8, 1998, effective October 1, 1998; Comment revised April 1, 2004, effective May 10, 2004; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective March 18, 2013.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Final Report explaining the January 17, 2013 rescission and replacement published with the Courts Order at 43 Pa.B. 651 (February 2, 2013).
The provisions of this Rule 702 amended April 1, 2004, effective May 10, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 2065; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective in sixty days, 43 Pa.B. 620. Immediately preceeding text appears at serial pages (303515) to (303516).
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