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Expert Witness Testimony, Admissibility

In Missouri, expert testimony is admissible as long as the expert’s competence on the subject is superior to that of the ordinary juror and the expert’s opinion aids the jury in deciding an issue in the case. Freight House Lofts v. VSI Meter SVCS., 402 S.W.3d 586, 596 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). “If the court finds that the expert is qualified by ‘knowledge, skill, experience, training or education,’ and that the facts or data the expert uses are reasonably relied on by experts in the field and otherwise reasonably reliable, the trial court must admit his or her testimony.” Kivland  v. Columbia Orthopaedic Group, LLP, 331 S.W.3d 299, 310 (Mo. 2011); Section 490.065, RSMo. The jury decides whether to accept the expert’s analysis of the facts and the data. Id. Any weakness in the factual underpinnings of the expert’s opinion goes to the weight that testimony should be given and not its admissibility. Id.

Broadly speaking, experts are used in areas when they can speak to scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge to assist the judge or jury in making a decision. Examples of when an expert are to be used include questions about medical practices and procedures, issues about reasonable compensation and business transactions, and all other areas in which knowledge outside of the purview of an ordinary juror may help in deciding a case. Presently, there is a push in Missouri to raise the standard for expert testimony. As such, the bar may be raised in terms of who may be qualified as an expert in the not too distant future.