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In re M.R.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

March 1, 2021

In re M.R. involved consolidated appeals in which the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (“DHS”) appealed from the orders adjudicating dependent M.R. and his twin sister, J.R. (collectively, “Children”), but not finding child abuse as to the parents. At issue in the appeals was whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the testimony of the parents’ expert witness, Dr. Miller. The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed. The Court ruled that the mere fact of publication of Dr. Miller’s research in a journal did not prove that doctors and scientists in the medical field generally accepted his scientific methodology as a means for arriving at a conclusion about the cause of Children’s injuries. There were a plethora of other sources discrediting Dr. Miller’s methodology. Furthermore, the trial court abused its discretion in ascertaining that Dr. Miller applied a generally accepted scientific methodology simply because he claimed to have used medical records, diagnostic imaging, and the medical histories of both Children and Mother. Accordingly, the trial court should not have admitted the doctor’s testimony.

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