It's come to my attention that a very important case, In re Lockheed Litigation Cases, is apparently pending in California. California is a "Frye" state, which means that it applies a general acceptance test to the admissibility of expert testimony. However, California precedent suggests that the state version of Frye (Kelly-Frye) has a very narrow scope, and that it does not, for example, apply to expert testimony in toxic tort or products liability cases. The question before the California Supreme Court is whether California Evidence Rule 801 provides an alternative test for the admissibility of expert testimony in civil cases, focusing on the reasonableness of the expert testimony. Near as I can tell, briefing finished last Summer. I don't know whether the case has been orally argued yet.
This is a very important case! By far the largest jurisdiction in the U.S. is going to decide whether to reqire its trial judges to serve as gatekeepers, a la Daubert, or adopt a "let it all in philosophy" for cases not covered by the Frye rule. Yet, the case seems to have slipped under the radar screen; it has received little publicity or attention, even from national plaintiff and defense groups that have a huge stake in the matter. (I spoke to someone earlier today from one of these groups, and he wasn't even aware of the case.)
Any California lawyers out there who can shed more light on why this case hasn't received more attention, and on its status?