Tag: Speeches

Daubert Webinar Available for Download

For anyone who is interested in downloading my Florida Bar Family Law Section sponsored presentation on “The Return of Daubert” from this past Halloween, and could not get the materials, you can download it from the Florida Bar website here – and get CLE. Florida’s changing expert witness rules impact everyone who practices in divorce and family law. The Webinar will explain why the new old law is here to stay.

Divorce Expert

The Frye Pan

People rely on all sorts of expert witnesses in divorce and family law cases, maybe more than most areas of law. Routinely, people will come to trial with accountants, psychologists, and other experts in tow.

Since 1923 courts have relied on the Frye Rule, which states that expert opinion based on a scientific technique is only admissible where the technique is generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted a new standard which requires trial judges to screen expert testimony for relevance and reliability. The “Daubert test” developed in three product liabilities cases. The plaintiffs tried to introduce expert testimony to prove products caused their damages. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately tightened the rules for admitting expert testimony.

Constitutional Problems

In 2013, the Florida Legislature amended the Florida Evidence Code to start following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Daubert standard for the admission of expert testimony and the basis for an expert’s opinion. When the legislature passes a law encroaching on courtroom practice and procedure, the laws are unconstitutional. However, the Legislature can enact substantive laws.

When one branch of government encroaches on another branch, Florida traditionally applies a “strict separation of powers doctrine.” Given that the Evidence Code contains both substantive and procedural provisions, there is a question whether the Legislature violated the separation of powers doctrine.

The Florida Evidence Code contains both substantive and procedural provisions, so there was a suspicion that the Legislature violated the separation of powers doctrine when it amended the code this way. My new article about the way the Constitutional problem was resolved by the Florida Supreme Court is available here.

Return of Daubert

This summer, the Florida Supreme Court weighed in on the new evidence law and found it constitutional. Rejecting the recent complaints about the Daubert standard, the Florida Supreme Court remarked that Daubert has been routinely applied in federal courts since 1993, a majority of states adhere to the Daubert standard, and caselaw after Daubert shows that the rejection of expert testimony is the exception rather than the rule.

Effective immediately, the Florida Supreme Court has adopted the Legislatures’ 2013 amendments to section 90.702 as procedural rules of evidence, and adopted the amendment to section 90.704 to the extent it is procedural.

Florida’s new-ish Daubert standard is the set of factors used to determine the admissibility of expert witness testimony in court. Under the Daubert standard, the trial judge serves as the gatekeeper who determines whether an expert’s evidence is deemed reliable and relevant.

Trial judges in Florida now have to use the Daubert test to assess whether an expert witness’ testimony is 1) based on scientifically valid reasoning and 2) whether it has been properly applied to the facts at issue. Failure to comply with the Daubert standard can result in exclusion of an expert’s testimony.

The Webinar is available here.

 

Speaking on Halloween and Daubert

This Halloween I will be co-presenting a webinar with the Hon. Samantha Ruiz Cohen. The presentation is sponsored by the Florida Bar Family Law Section. The webinar will discuss Florida’s dark, lonely road to a new standard for admitting expert testimony: Daubert Returns.

Daubert

The presentation addresses the changes to §90.702 and §90.704; how the new Daubert standard differs from Florida’s old Frye rule; the Constitutional problem, appellate cases applying the new standard; how the judge’s role has changed; and the new Rules’ impact on the admissibility of expert testimony in family law cases.

The webinar will take place tomorrow, October 31, 2019 beginning at noon.

Did I mention the witches?

There is still time to register by clicking here.

 

Speaking Engagement on Family Law

It was an honor to speak today in front of a ‘standing room only’ audience at the Family Division Courthouse. The presentation was hosted by the 11th Judicial Circuit’s Family Court Services, as part of their Lunch & Learn Series. I co-presented with my colleague Evan Marks, on Florida’s twisting road to the correct standard for admitting expert testimony in family law and divorce cases called: “Daubert Returns.”

Family Law Speech

The presentation was based, in part, on an article to be published this Fall in the Florida Bar Commentator, “Daubert House.” The presentation addressed the statutory changes to §90.702 and §90.704; how the new Daubert standard differs from the old Frye rule; the now-settled Constitutional problem, Florida appellate cases applying the new standard; how the judge’s role in admitting expert testimony has changed; and the new Rules’ impact on the admissibility of expert testimony in Family Law cases.

 

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

For readers who may be interested, I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting as a workshop leader at the Family Law Section 2017 Trial Advocacy Workshop in St. Petersburg.

The Florida Bar Family Law Section is hosting the 2017 Trial Advocacy Workshop, from July 20th to July 23rd, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

The Trial Advocacy Workshop helps to improve your trial skills while preparing and presenting a family law case from beginning to end. The program offers a two-track option (choose between a children’s issues case or a financial issues case).

The workshop provides you with individualized attention within your small group. All workshop leaders are Florida Bar board certified in Marital & Family Law. In their respective workshops, attendees will meet with forensic psychologists and forensic accountants in small settings with the opportunity to ask questions and engage in open discussions.

Registration is limited to 80 participants, and there will be no on-site registration.

More information is available here.

 

Upcoming Talk on Children’s Issues

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Speeches on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

On March 17th, I’ll be speaking in Ft. Lauderdale on Family Law Trends and Hot Topics in the Area of Children’s Issues, an event sponsored by The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Family Law Section.

This broad and useful seminar is designed to assist the family law practitioner by discussing the latest trends in the law.

Topics include understanding the power of parenting relationships in divorce, child support guidelines for split-parenting timesharing schedules, parentage issues for same sex couples, expert testimony and the impact of the Daubert decision, and ethical considerations when dealing with children in contested family law matters.

The seminar will then conclude with a distinguished panel of judges from different geographical areas to discuss how they approach and decide contested timesharing cases.

The event is open to the public, though registration is required.

The brochure for the event can be found here.

The event’s website information can be found here.