- Kumho Tire Co
On July 6, 1993, the right rear tire of a minivan driven by
Patrick Carmichael blew out.
In the accident that followed, one of the passengers died, and
others were severely injured.
Claimed Tire was defective
In October 1993, the Carmichaels brought this diversity suit
against the tire's maker and its distributor, whom we refer to
collectively as Kumho Tire, claiming that the tire was
The plaintiffs rested their case in significant part upon
deposition testimony provided by an expert in tire failure
analysis, Dennis Carlson, Jr., who intended to testify in
support of their conclusion.
Must have been a defect
Carlson concluded that the tire did not bear at least two of the
four overdeflection symptoms, nor was there any less obvious
cause of separation; and since neither overdeflection nor the
punctures caused the blowout, a defect must have done so.
Granted motion to exclude testimony.
Carlsons testimony was not subject to peer review, rate of
error and degree of acceptance within the relevant scientific
Pl - Arg - Ask for reconsideration
Daubert should be applied flexibly.
Other factors could argue in favor of admissibility.
Court of Appeals - Reversed
De Novo review - anew.
Supreme Court in Daubert explicitly limited its holding to cover
only the 'scientific context,'" adding that "a Daubert analysis"
applies only where an expert relies "on the application of
scientific principles," rather than "on skill- or
It concluded that Carlson's testimony, which it viewed as
relying on experience, "falls outside the scope of Daubert.
Applies to All expert testimony
Rule 702 makes no relevant distinction between "scientific"
knowledge and "technical" or "other specialized" knowledge. It
makes clear that any such knowledge might become the subject of
In Daubert, the Court specified that it is the Rule's word
"knowledge," not the words (like "scientific") that modify that
word, that "establishes a standard of evidentiary reliability."
509 U.S. at 589-590.
Hence, as a matter of language, the Rule applies its reliability
standard to all "scientific," "technical," or "other
specialized" matters within its scope.
Daubert said 702 and 703 granted expert witnesses testimonial
Daubert pointed out that Federal Rules 702 and 703 grant expert
witnesses testimonial latitude unavailable to other witnesses on
the "assumption that the expert's opinion will have a reliable
basis in the knowledge and experience of his discipline."
There is no clear line that divides scientific from technical
Finally, it would prove difficult, if not impossible, for judges
to administer evidentiary rules under which a gatekeeping
obligation depended upon a distinction between "scientific"
knowledge and "technical" or "other specialized" knowledge.
Daubert's general principles - testimony must have a reliable
basis in the knowledge and experience of the relevant discipline
Apply to the expert matters described in Rule 702.
The Rule, in respect to all such
matters, "establishes a standard of evidentiary
It requires a valid connection to the pertinent inquiry as a
precondition to admissibility.
The trial judge must determine whether the testimony has "a
reliable basis in the knowledge and experience of [the relevant]
District Court concluded Carlsons Methodology was unreliable
that "none" of the Daubert factors, including that of "general
acceptance" in the relevant expert community, indicated that
Carlson's testimony was reliable.
that its own analysis "revealed no countervailing factors
operating in favor of admissibility which could outweigh those
identified in Daubert.
that the "parties identified no such factors in their briefs.
For these three reasons taken together, it concluded that
Carlson's testimony was unreliable
No indication other industry experts use Carlsons two factor
We have found no indication in the record that other experts in
the industry use Carlson's two-factor test or that tire experts
such as Carlson normally make the very fine distinctions about,
say, the symmetry of comparatively greater shoulder tread wear
that were necessary, on Carlson's own theory, to support his
Nothing in either Daubert or the Federal Rules of Evidence
requires a district court to admit opinion evidence that is
connected to existing data only by the ipse dixit of the expert.
District Court did not abuse its discretionary authority
Court of Appeals reversed