Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Adversary's Preliminary Expert Reports Held Not to Be Competent SJ Evidence

It has just now come to our notice that the Fifth Circuit ruled, in early October, that on summary judgment, a plaintiff may not rely on defendants' unsigned preliminary expert reports, because such reports are not competent expert evidence. The unpublished opinion, which was rendered in connection with causation issues in toxic tort litigation, does not discuss any possible argument that the reports were party admissions. See Winstead v. Georgia Gulf Corp., No. 02-31212 (5th Cir. Oct. 9, 2003) (Higginbotham, Davis, & Prado, JJ.).
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.