880 So.2d 721 (Fla.App. 2 Dist. 2004), 2D02-1846, State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson

Docket Nº2D02-1846.
Citation880 So.2d 721, 29 Fla. L. Weekly D 1133
Opinion JudgeThe opinion of the court was delivered by: Fulmer, Judge.
Party NameSTATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant, v. Karen S. JOHNSON and Charles Johnson, Appellees.
AttorneyTracy Raffles Gunn of Fowler White
Case DateMay 12, 2004
CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US), Second District

Page 721

880 So.2d 721 (Fla.App. 2 Dist. 2004)

29 Fla. L. Weekly D 1133

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant,

v.

Karen S. JOHNSON and Charles Johnson, Appellees.

No. 2D02-1846.

Florida Court of Appeal, Second District.

May 12, 2004

Rehearing Denied July 15, 2004.

Page 722

Tracy Raffles Gunn of Fowler White Boggs Banker P.A., Tampa, for Appellant.

Michael S. Finch, St. Petersburg, for Appellees.

FULMER, Judge.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company appeals from a final judgment entered after a jury verdict in favor of Karen Johnson, plaintiff below, on her uninsured motorist claim. State Farm argues that the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony that trauma from an automobile accident was the legal cause of Mrs. Johnson's fibromyalgia. We conclude that the expert testimony was properly admitted and therefore affirm.

In October 1996, Mrs. Johnson was rear-ended by an uninsured driver. After the accident, Mrs. Johnson developed progressively debilitating symptoms. She was ultimately diagnosed as having fibromyalgia, a fact that is not disputed by State Farm. However, State Farm does dispute Mrs. Johnson's contention that the accident was the legal cause of her condition.

Prior to trial, State Farm sought, under Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.Cir. 1923), to exclude the expert testimony that linked Mrs. Johnson's fibromyalgia to the accident. In its motion, State Farm asserted that the experts "should be stricken under the Frye test as none of these experts' scientific opinions are generally accepted in the scientific community." At the hearing on the motion, the parties did not argue whether Frye was applicable. Instead, their arguments concerned whether the scientific community's failure to reach a generally accepted understanding of the physical mechanism that causes fibromyalgia requires the exclusion of expert opinion testimony that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, Mrs. Johnson's fibromyalgia resulted from the auto accident.

The parties agree that the cause (etiology) and the disease process (pathogenesis) of fibromyalgia are unknown to medical science. The parties also agree that while the etiology and pathogenesis are unknown,

Page 723

there is an established association between trauma and fibromyalgia. State Farm argues that because the medical cause is unknown, expert opinion...

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11 practice notes
  • Challenging expert witness testimony in Florida products liability cases under Frye.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 81 Nbr. 3, March 2007
    • March 1, 2007
    ...Id. Approximately one year prior to Marsh, the Second District took a contrary position in State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So. 2d 721 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 2004) (admitting expert witness testimony that plaintiff 's fibromyalgia was caused by an automobile accident based on differe......
  • 897 So.2d 504 (Fla.App. 2 Dist. 2005), 2D03-3826, Gelsthorpe v. Weinstein
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeal of Florida (US) Second District
    • March 2, 2005
    ...concerning the cause of a medical condition is based on a novel scientific methodology. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So.2d 721, 723 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (holding that Frye was not applicable to expert opinion concerning cause of fibromyalgia where "the medical exper......
  • Confronting experts whose opinions are neither supported nor directly contradicted by scientific literature.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 80 Nbr. 6, June 2006
    • June 1, 2006
    ...offer an expert opinion linking a plaintiff's fibromyalgia with an automobile accident. The Second District, in State Farm v. Johnson, 880 So. 2d 721 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004), held that a medical expert's opinion linking fibromyalgia and an automobile accident was admissible as pure opinion if it......
  • The "pure opinion" exception to the Florida Frye standard.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 86 Nbr. 2, February 2012
    • February 1, 2012
    ...decisions are in the minority, however, and they apply a different test. Other than the Second District's recent decision in Johnson, 880 So. 2d at 721, however, I have found only one case applying a Fryetype test to testimony linking trauma to fibromyalgia that has found the testimony admi......
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6 cases
  • 897 So.2d 504 (Fla.App. 2 Dist. 2005), 2D03-3826, Gelsthorpe v. Weinstein
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeal of Florida (US) Second District
    • March 2, 2005
    ...concerning the cause of a medical condition is based on a novel scientific methodology. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So.2d 721, 723 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (holding that Frye was not applicable to expert opinion concerning cause of fibromyalgia where "the medical exper......
  • 260 P.3d 857 (Wash. 2011), 82264-6, Anderson v. Akzo Nobel Coatings, Inc.
    • United States
    • Washington United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • September 8, 2011
    ...opinion’ admissible without having to satisfy Frye. " Marsh, 977 So.2d at 549 (citing State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So.2d 721, 723 [8] We note that counsel neglected to provide a specific citation to the record for this, instead referring us to " CP 577-768 (Exhib......
  • 977 So.2d 543 (Fla. 2007), SC06-118, Marsh v. Valyou
    • United States
    • Florida United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • November 21, 2007
    ...Marsh v. Valyou, 917 So.2d 313 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005), which certified conflict with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Johnson, 880 So.2d 721 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004). In Marsh, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held that Frye does apply and, applying that test, held the testimony inadm......
  • 138 So.3d 492 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 2014), 3D11-445, Perez v. Bell South Telecommunications, Inc.
    • United States
    • Florida Court of Appeal of Florida (US) Third District
    • April 23, 2014
    ...or association between trauma and the onset of fibromyalgia, based on clinical experience, State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So.2d 721, 722-23 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004); see generally 24A Fla. Jur. Evidence, § In 2013, the Florida legislature amended section 90.702 of the Florida Evid......
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2 firm's commentaries
  • Florida Supreme Court Rejects More Rigorous Expert Testimony Standard
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • March 6, 2017
    ...v. Valyou, 917 So. 2d 313, 327, 329 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005), rev'd, 977 So. 2d 543 (2007). 15 State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So. 2d 721 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004). 16 See David M. Flores et al, Examining the Effects of the Daubert Trilogy on Expert Evidence Practices in Federal Civil ......
  • Florida Supreme Court Rejects More Rigorous Expert Testimony Standard
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • February 23, 2017
    ...v. Valyou, 917 So. 2d 313, 327, 329 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005), rev’d, 977 So. 2d 543 (2007). 15 State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So. 2d 721 (Fla. 2d DCA 16 See David M. Flores et al, Examining the Effects of the DaubertTrilogy on Expert Evidence Practices in Federal Civil Court: A......
3 books & journal articles
  • Challenging expert witness testimony in Florida products liability cases under Frye.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 81 Nbr. 3, March 2007
    • March 1, 2007
    ...Id. Approximately one year prior to Marsh, the Second District took a contrary position in State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 880 So. 2d 721 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 2004) (admitting expert witness testimony that plaintiff 's fibromyalgia was caused by an automobile accident based on differe......
  • Confronting experts whose opinions are neither supported nor directly contradicted by scientific literature.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 80 Nbr. 6, June 2006
    • June 1, 2006
    ...offer an expert opinion linking a plaintiff's fibromyalgia with an automobile accident. The Second District, in State Farm v. Johnson, 880 So. 2d 721 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004), held that a medical expert's opinion linking fibromyalgia and an automobile accident was admissible as pure opinion if it......
  • The "pure opinion" exception to the Florida Frye standard.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 86 Nbr. 2, February 2012
    • February 1, 2012
    ...decisions are in the minority, however, and they apply a different test. Other than the Second District's recent decision in Johnson, 880 So. 2d at 721, however, I have found only one case applying a Fryetype test to testimony linking trauma to fibromyalgia that has found the testimony admi......

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