2008 Regular Session . June 10, 2008
Daubert Bill Advances to the House Floor
SB 308 by Sen. Jack Donahue was debated in House Civil Law and Procedure for an hour yesterday, during which a total of 25 amendments (some substantive, some technical) were added to the bill. The committee then approved the bill as amended and sent it to the House floor for a final vote.
The bill is part of the U.S. Chamber’s continuing attack on the judiciary in Louisiana. Arguments are that there is no consistency in procedural rules throughout the state and that judges in some areas will not give parties a pre-trial Daubert hearing on an expert witness or a ruling until trial starts.
Amendments adopted in committee:
Clarified that Code of Evidence Art. 104(A) is the evidentiary standard used at the Daubert hearing.
Provided that for good cause shown the judge may allow live testimony at the Daubert hearing.
Gave the judge discretion to assess against the non-prevailing party all or a portion of the court costs, including reasonable expert witness fees and costs incurred when a motion for a pre-trial Daubert hearing is filed under this article.
Under the bill in its current form, the court must hold a contradictory Daubert hearing and issue a ruling no later than 30 days before trial, but it need not allow live testimony except for good cause shown. The court must provide specific written reasons of law and fact to support its ruling. Reasons must include the elements required by Code of Evidence Articles 702-705.
If enacted the bill will not take effect until January 1, 2009, and will not affect any case set for trial or any case in which expert disclosures have been made in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure Article 1425 prior to January 1, 2009.
Session in the Final Stretch
The Legislature is less than three weeks from adjournment. The session must adjourn no later than 6:00 p.m. Monday, June 23. Friday, June 20, at 6:00 p.m. is the deadline to vote for final passage of a bill in the second chamber. The final three days of the session will be devoted to conference committee reports and resolutions.
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