Case Update: MD Standard for Admissibility of Expert Testimony


In this decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of a motion to exclude expert testimony on the basis that it was not generally accepted by the medical and scientific community. In the underlying case, employees filed workers' compensation claims alleging neurocognitive problems as a result of exposure to mold. Prior to its denial, the trial court did not hold a Frye-Reed hearing regarding the admissibility of the expert's testimony.

On appeal, the court remanded the case for the purpose of conducting a hearing on the expert's methodology and theory of causation. The trial court then held a hearing, finding that the expert's diagnosis was reliable and generally accepted by the relevant scientist community. That decision was appealed and overturned.

In this appeal, the court discussed the Frye-Reed standard for admissibility of testimony concerning questions of science, which requires the proposed theory be generally accepted by the relevant scientific community. The court reviewed the hearing testimony, including that of the opposing expert, who testified that the methodology discussed by the expert in question was not generally accepted, and that the process contained critical gaps. The court went on to note the significant fact that other jurisdictions had excluded that particular expert's testimony, finding that his technique was therefore not shown to be generally accepted, thereby reversing the trial court and vacating the original judgment rendered in favor of the Plaintiff.

Chesson v. Montgomery Mut. Ins. Co., 97 September Term 2012 (Md. Sept. 24, 2013).