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Expert testimony can be the linchpin that makes or breaks a case. But lawyers have had a tougher time getting that testimony admitted since 1993, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals that scientific testimony must be not only relevant, but reliable. In 1999′s Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, the Court extended that rule to all experts. This means that a lawyer preparing to qualify or challenge an expert at trial must answer a number of questions. What is the state of the case law under Daubert? How has the particular court or judge applied the rule? How have courts ruled on this type of expertise? Has this expert ever come before a judge? But keeping up with the case law is no easy task. MDEX Online Inc., a medical-legal consulting firm headquartered in Chicago, estimates there are more than 4,000 trial and appellate opinions interpreting and applying Daubert and its offspring, as well as thousands more state “gatekeeper” cases. That is why MDEX developed a tool to help lawyers track these cases and, in particular, find out how specific experts or areas of expertise fared in the courts. The Daubert Tracker, at www.dauberttracker.com, has as its central feature a database of all reported Daubert and Kumho decisions, trial and appellate, backed up when available by full-text briefs, transcripts and docket entries. It also includes recent cases applying Frye v. United States, the 1928 Supreme Court decision requiring the exclusion of scientific evidence that is unproven or experimental. As of this writing, it was preparing to add all state gatekeeper cases as well as several thousand unreported cases. The service, launched in August 2002, is composed of five distinct products: a searchable database of all reported cases; core documents — docket sheets, briefs and transcripts — for each case; an e-mail update of new cases from the previous week; a quarterly journal with articles by trial attorneys, law professors, judges and experts; and a series of “Web lectures” delivered by authorities on Daubert and scientific evidence. A year subscription costs $495 with discounts for multiple users. Or a two-hour session can be purchased for $25; a half-hour costs $10. The full subscription includes the case law database, the e-mail update and the quarterly journal. Core documents and Web lectures cost extra. Briefs are $20 each for subscribers and $40 for others. Transcripts are $30 for subscribers and $60 for others. Documents and transcripts not in the database can be ordered for $35 to $60. Lectures are $60 to subscribers, $95 to others. CONDUCTING A SEARCH The main page includes search fields in a box to the left. To the right, another box lists available Web lectures. General product information is in the center of the page. The database can be searched using any combination of the 10 available search fields. They allow searches by expert’s name, expert’s discipline, specific federal or state court, area of law, party, judge, attorney, year and keyword. The discipline, court and area of law are selected from a drop-down list. Selection of multiple disciplines are permitted.In addition to these fielded searches, The Daubert Tracker recently added full-text-searching of opinions. It supports natural language and Boolean searches as well as more sophisticated techniques such as fuzzy searching that will find a word even if it is misspelled. Once a search is entered, a results screen appears with a list of the matching cases for each jurisdiction, court and case caption. Next to each listed item is a “View Case” button, which links to the details of the case. The main screen for each case has five tabs across the top: Case Details, Opinion, Docket, Briefs and Transcripts. Cases added to the database since January also have a sixth tab, Summary. The screen opens by default at Case Details, and begins with the experts — not just the ones who matched the search, but all who were challenged in the case — showing name, discipline, area of expertise and disposition (e.g., testimony admitted). The Details screen also lists court, parties, docket number, citation, counsel, judge and area of law. Here is a key area in which the The Daubert Tracker distinguishes itself from other case law databases, said MDEX CEO Myles Levin. Even if the case never mentions the expert’s name or expertise, The Daubert Tracker provides it, and assigns a discipline. From Case Details, any of the other tabs can be clicked to reveal:

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