Thursday, May 30, 2019

Superior Court Reaffirms Frye Standard For Expert Opinions (Non-Precedential)

In the case of Quick v. Assadinia, No. 1013 MDA 2018 (Pa. Super. March 28, 2019 Ott, J., Nichols, J., and Bellegrini, J.) (Mem. Op. by Bellegrini, J.) (Non-precedential), the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the dismissal of a dental malpractice action after the trial court excluded the Plaintiff’s expert testimony following a Frye challenge by the defense.  

In its Opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court again confirmed that it is well-established that, in a medical malpractice action, the Plaintiff bears the burden of presenting evidence from an expert who will testify, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the acts of the Defendant physician deviated from acceptable medical standards and that such deviation was the proximate cause of the harm alleged.

For expert evidence to be admissible, it must meet the standard enunciated in the case of Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923).   Under Frye, expert scientific testimony must have general acceptance in the relevant community in order to be admissible.   In other words, the Frye standards require that the scientific community generally accepts the principles upon which the expert is proceeding and the methodology that the expert is employing to reach his or her conclusions.  

In this case, the defense challenged the Plaintiff’s dental expert’s opinion that the use of the type of medications utilized in this case caused certain medical conditions that resulted in the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries.   The defense called these opinions into question under the Frye standard. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Warren L. Siegfried of the Pittsburgh law firm of Wayman, Irvin & McAuley, LLC, for bringing this case to my attention.   

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