Monday, May 15, 2006


Here's a piece from Saturday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the booming expert-testimony industry. It focuses on experts enlisted by corporate defendants. That makes some intuitive sense. Maybe, as Willie Sutton might say, that's where the money is. But we wonder if any empirical investigation has been attempted, recently, into the comparative expenditures of the plaintiff and defense bars.

We wonder this partly because we have begun to question the conventional wisdom that permissive rules on expert testimony tend to favor plaintiffs. That conventional wisdom may represent the natural conclusion, when the focus of debate is on tightening up the rules for malpractice claims, product liability actions, and toxic torts. Make the rules stringent enough, and no tort claimant would be able to carry his burden of proof.

But expert evidence can also be a handy vehicle for spin and rationalization, for clients with the wherewithal to hone their experts' presentations through big-budget focus groups and consultancies.

And so we're curious, just where this estimated $6-8 billion per year is coming from, and where it's going.


Post a Comment

<< Home

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.