The legislature has sent Governor Jay Nixon (D) a bill that would change the standard for who is considered an expert witness in a Missouri courtroom.
The proposal would have expert witness testimony allowed only if it is based on “sufficient facts” and “reliable principles and methods.” The current standard allows expert testimony based on facts “reasonably relied upon by experts in the field.”
Sponsor Kevin Corlew (R-Kansas City) says the bill would help ensure that a jury can rely on people presented as experts.
“That the jury can rely upon the expert evidence that’s being presented to them, that it’s trustworthy, reliable,” said Corlew.
The bill had bipartisan opposition. Representative Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) said it would drive up the cost of qualifying an expert witness, thereby making it more expensive for injured parties to filed lawsuits.
“Insurance companies save money and your constituents lose their rights in court,” Colona told fellow lawmakers. “Also insurance companies can make more money.”
The new standard would not apply in juvenile or family courts.
Business organizations, insurance organizations, and the state prosecutors association were among backers of the bill while the circuit judges association was among opponents.
The governor could sign the bill into law, veto it, or let it become law without taking action. If he vetoes it, its vote totals in the House and Senate fell short of the totals necessary for an override.