Commonwealth v. Chmiel

In Commonwealth v. Chmiel, the PA Supreme Court considered an appeal from the denial of PCRA relief in a capital case. The defendant challenged the microscopic hair analysis used at his trial. The Court took “this opportunity to admonish that testifying examiners must acknowledge the inherent limitations and assiduously avoid the forms of over-claiming and … Read more

Commonwealth v. Williams

In Commonwealth v. Williams, after he was convicted of murder, the defendant asserted that the trial court committed a host of evidentiary errors. The Court held: 1. It was proper for the trial court to admit the deceased victim’s text messages into evidence under the party-opponent exception to the rule against hearsay; 2. The Commonwealth … Read more

Commonwealth v. Bonnett

In Commonwealth v. Bonnett, the Superior Court reviewed a trial court’s decision to deny the defendant a Frye hearing to challenge the methodology of a Commonwealth witness. The witness at issue was a purported expert in the field of fire investigation. The defendant claimed that the expert witness did not employ the methodology that they claimed … Read more

U.S. v. Heinrich

The 3rd Circuit probably wants its decision in U.S. v. Heinrich to be read more by district judges than by lawyers. The district judge “ruled” that the defense could not call a particular expert based on Rule 403. But that “ruling” came from the judge’s law clerk during an off-the-record telephone call in which the district … Read more

Carl v. Johnson & Johnson

In Carl v. Johnson & Johnson, which involved multi-county baby powder litigation, the Appellate Division ruled that the trial court abused its discretion when it barred the plaintiff’s’ experts’ opinions on causation. The Court held that the experts’ opinions were based on sound methodology applied to data upon which experts in their field may reasonably … Read more

Walsh v. BASF

In Walsh v. BASF, the PA Supreme Court held that a trial court may not question the merits of an expert’s scientific theories, techniques, or conclusions, and it is not part of the function of a trial court to assess whether it considers those theories, techniques, and/or conclusions to be accurate or reliable based upon … Read more

Commonwealth v. T.B.

In this child sex assault prosecution, the Commonwealth called as a witness a forensic interviewer who testified about her interview of the minor victim. Over defense objections, she opined as to the importance of sensory detail for children generally, though she was not offered as an expert. The Superior Court found admission of this evidence … Read more

Rolon v. Davies

#CivilLaw #MedMal #ExpertTestimony 04/28/2020- Rolon, as the administrator of the estate of Maria Sanchez-Rodriguez, filed a medical malpractice action against Davies as well as others, alleging the defendants’ negligence led to the death of his wife, Ms. Sanchez-Ridriguez. The jury returned a verdict for the defendants, and Rolon appealed. The Superior Court affirmed in part … Read more