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What are the questions to ask an expert witness?

Aug 07, 2019 · By: Jessica Mahon Scoles, Esq. An expert witness who will be testifying, whether it is at deposition or trial, should be prepared to deal with these 10 routine areas of inquiry. 1. Bias Experts will be cross-examined about their real or imagined bias. Counsel who can demonstrate or raise doubts about the expert’s bias can […]

Are expert witnesses admissible in court?

Mar 14, 2019 · The following potential expert witness deposition questions/areas of inquiry have been excerpted from SEAK’s 376 page text How to Prepare Your Expert Witness for Deposition 1 .

What are the rules for expert witnesses under the FRE?

May 02, 2017 · Questions that ask expert witness opinions about the legal analysis of the case rather than purely factual information are objectionable on the grounds that the testimony qualifies as attorney work product protected under FRCP 26(b)(4)(C). The Advisory Committee notes “[t]he refocus of disclosure on “facts or data” [changed from “data ...

When can counsel object to expert witness testimony?

Mangraviti was the co-founder in 2000 of SEAK’s Expert Witness Directory ( ), which is an often-used national resource for attorneys to locate expert witnesses. He can be contacted at 978-276-1234 or Nadine Nasser Donovan, Esq., is a former trial lawyer with extensive litigation experience.


What questions would you ask an expert witness?

13 Questions Lawyers Need to Ask Expert Witnesses“Are you the best expert witness?”“What makes you qualified?”“Ever been prevented from testifying?”“Anticipate expert deadline causing any problem?”“What do you need?”“Ever testified for or against opposing party?”More items...

How do you disqualify an expert witness?

A party may seek to disqualify an expert using either a federal common-law doctrine based on an adverse expert's prior relationship with that party, or by invoking the opposing party's failures to comply with discovery rules, in particular Rule 26 and Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Can you ask an expert witness leading questions?

Generally a leading question is one that suggests the answer to a witness on the stand. Generally, a lawyer is not allowed to ask a leading question because it tells the witness what to say. If your question does not do that then it is not leading.

What are the 5 Daubert standards?

Under the Daubert standard, the factors that may be considered in determining whether the methodology is valid are: (1) whether the theory or technique in question can be and has been tested; (2) whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication; (3) its known or potential error rate; (4)the existence and ...

What are some of the factors courts have used in determining whether to disqualify an expert?

The type of information conveyed to the expert, amount of time involved in discussions or meetings, and whether the expert provided the attorney with confidential information are three factors courts have used in determining whether to disqualify an expert.

What constitutes a conflict of interest for an expert witness?

Generally, conflicts of interest most often arise in terms of confidentiality issues and the expert's duty of loyalty. A potential conflict of interest may exist if the expert has been formerly employed by or previously hired as an expert for the opposing side.Aug 27, 2021

Are leading questions admissible?

A type of questioning in that the form of the question suggests the answer. In general, leading questions are not allowed during the direct examination of a witness, however, they are allowed on the cross-examination of a witness.

What are the five exceptions to the rule prohibiting leading questions on direct examination?

Five exceptions to the rule prohibiting leading questions direct examination are questioning (1) with respect to undisputed preliminary or inconsequential maters; (2) when a witness is hostile, unwilling, frightened, or biased; (3) with respect to a child or adult witness who has difficulty communicating; (4) a witness ...

What are the three questions that must be asked to determine whether an expert is allowed to testify in a trial?

The specific factors explicated by the Daubert Court are (1) whether the expert's technique or theory can be or has been tested—that is, whether the expert's theory can be challenged in some objective sense, or whether it is instead simply a subjective, conclusory approach that cannot reasonably be assessed for ...

What makes a witness an expert?

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, a qualified expert witness is someone who has knowledge, skill, education, experience, or training in a specialized field. These qualifications are generally also required of expert witnesses in state courts.Feb 24, 2014

What is a 702 hearing?

Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses. A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help.

What 3 court cases make up the Daubert trilogy?

The Daubert trilogy are the three United States Supreme Court cases that articulated the Daubert standard:Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... General Electric Co. v. ... Kumho Tire Co. v.

What should an expert be prepared to answer?

Experts should be prepared to answer any and all questions about prior statements they have made in reports, articles, blog posts, prior cases, depositions, and trials. Failure to do so effectively can destroy their credibility.

What can counsel expect from an expert?

Experts can expect counsel to try to imply or demonstrate that counsel unduly influenced the expert and the conclusion they reached. A transparent practice by the expert regarding opinion and report preparation is the best way to counter any of these implications.

What does counsel challenge?

Counsel will aggressively challenge the expert on all aspects of their opinions, including qualifications, research performed. Investigation, methodology, language used, degree of certainty, etc. When counsel can demonstrate flaws in the opinion, or their scope, the expert can be compromised.

Can an expert be disqualified?

If counsel can show or imply that the expert is not really qualified to testify on the issues, the expert may be disqualified by the judge or have their opinions given little weight by the jury. The expert should only accept cases in areas where he/she is truly an expert and well-qualified.

What should an expert expect and prepare for?

Expert should expect and prepare for close, intensive questions about each and every word in their report. The jury will not find an expert credible if the expert cannot explain or defend the report and its conclusions.

Can an expert be cross-examined?

Experts will be cross-examined about their real or imagined bias. Counsel who can demonstrate or raise doubts about the expert’s bias can quickly destroy the credibility of the expert. Experts are well advised to form honest, fair, and unbiased opinions and to prepare in advance to address questions about any perceived bias.

Why is an expert's deposition important?

In addition to its scientific and technical nature, sworn testimony that can be used to later impeach an expert witness at trial. It is important to note, however, that a deposition is still different than trial and there are a number of objections that can be properly raised with respect to an expert’s deposition testimony. For example, counsel can object when a question asks the expert for:

What is asked and answered in deposition?

“Asked and answered” is a standard objection during depositions when the deponent is repeatedly asked a question they have answered. This is especially important if the question is asked for any other purpose except clarification of earlier testimony. For example if the question is repeated to harass or otherwise embarrass the witness.

What is the Daubert motion?

Expert report methodology: A Daubert motion is the most direct way to challenge the reliability of an expert’s opinion. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), and its progeny set the standards for the admissibility of expert reports and testimony. The Daubert Court set out factors to be considered in determining whether an expert’s report is reliable: 1 whether the expert’s theory can and has been tested; 2 whether the theory has been subjected to peer review and publication; 3 the known or potential rate of error of the particular scientific technique; 4 whether the technique is generally accepted in the scientific community

What is the refocus of disclosure?

The Advisory Committee notes “ [t]he refocus of disclosure on “facts or data” [changed from “data and other information” in 1993] is meant to limit disclosure to material of a factual nature by excluding theories or mental impressions of counsel.”.

When is an objection proper?

When the deposition is at the request of opposing counsel, an objection is proper where an expert has not been fairly compensated for the separate time and work to prepare specifically for the deposition.

What is FRCP 26 C?

Under FRCP 26 (c) (1), a party can move for a protective order of parts of an expert’s testimony that may require disclosure of sensitive and protected information. For example, Rule 26 (c) (1) (G) says “ [t]he court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including…requiring that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be revealed only in a specified way.” This is an important rule to remember when dealing with terms of a business contract or client medical history. The expert witness may answer when the certain persons designated in the protective order leave the deposition room.

Can opposing counsel phrase a question by misstating the expert's earlier testimony?

In some instances during an expert’s deposition, opposing counsel may phrase a question by misstating the expert’s earlier testimony. Especially where scientific or otherwise technical data and conclusions are concerned, it is important to clear these mischaracterizations up on the record when they occur.

Why is it important to be an expert witness?

Because there are certain stipulations that provide for an expert witness’s testimony to be excluded, it is important that the specialty is understood and that the professional’s field is explained well enough that he or she may become part of the proceedings. This could be through a degree in the subject matter, extensive research that lead to publications or documented surveys or with field experience and observations. When being questioned, the expert witness must have enough understanding of his or her own specialty that he or she is capable of explaining the details to a judge and both legal counsels asking the questions. If a jury panel is included, they may determine if the person is considered an expert in the field and his or her testimony may be admissible and applied to the case.

When questioning an expert, it is best to ensure the answers received are for the specific material needed.

This may mean focusing on certain facts, details or situations. When only one aspect of the claim is highlighted and agreed upon by both witness and lawyer, it is best to ensure the primary understanding of the information in on the component needed for compensation. This may mean having the expert detail how the severity of injury causes such an effect on the victim that he or she is not capable of certain activities. This works best for medical witnesses.

What are ethical pitfalls that ensnare attorneys and expert witnesses?

Because of this deference, there are common ethical pitfalls that ensnare attorneys and expert witnesses. Most have to do with remaining objective, both in actual bias and the appearance of favoritism.

What is the rule for expert testimony?

Supreme Court laid out the requirements for expert testimony in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993), where they recognized that great deference is given to expert testimony by the jury and as such, needs to be objective.

Why do attorneys hire experts?

An attorney hires an expert to be favorable to a case, so the hiring attorney has to be careful not to divulge privileged or confidential information to the expert while explaining the case. For example, Dr. Jack is called to testify that Wilbur died of a heart attack caused by being bucked by the defendant's wild horse. The attorney for Carol, Wilbur's widow, has to be careful of what information is shared with the expert. This is because:

Who is Dan from Mowing Green?

Dan, an attorney, represented Joe in his lawsuit against Mowing Green Lawnmower Equipment for product related injuries. Right after a pre-trial deposition of Mowing Green's expert witness, Dan asked her if she'd be interested in testifying for him in another case. At trial, the judge dismissed Joe 's case for witness tampering. Did Dan tamper with the witness?

Do expert witnesses have immunity?

U.S. courts have long held that witnesses, including expert witnesses, have immunity from civil malpractice suits. The idea is objectivity would suffer and witnesses would be timid if they testified under threat of civil prosecution. However, recently the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom stripped immunity from expert witnesses in a 2011 decision, and in the U.S., many states have followed suit.

What is an expert witness in a lawsuit?

In many lawsuits, an expert witness is a necessary component. Without an expert providing information on how and why something went wrong, or what the generally accepted standard of care is in their particular realm of expertise, juries may have no basis upon which to make an informed decision. The types of lawsuits wherein experts are often ...

What is the rule for expert witness testimony?

In federal courts, expert witness opinion testimony is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 702, which provides an expert may offer opinion testimony if their knowledge, skill, experience, training or education qualifies them to do so, and such an opinion will help the trier of fact, provided some other caveats are met. These caveats include:

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice claims, addressing the standard of care, proximate cause, informed consent, or the nature of a specific disease or condition. Other forms of professional malpractice, to explain accounting practices, skill possessed by members of the profession, and specialized knowledge.

What is simple arithmetic?

Simple arithmetic, such as ordinary multiplication, is a paradigmatic example of the type of everyday activity that goes on in the normal course of human existence. One does not need a graduate degree in chemistry to master multiplication: in this country, that subject is universally taught in elementary schools.