Successful Techniques to Challenge Expert Witnesses

The Paralegal Resource
August 9, 2012 — 904 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

Daubert motions are typically presented before or during a trial. Lawyers often consider these motions to exclude an expert witness' testimony during legal proceedings. If an expert witness shows he or she does not possess the requisite level of expertise or used questionable tactics to obtain information, a judge might dismiss the witness' testimony.

Who is considered to be an expert witness?

Scientific evidence can be used during civil and criminal proceedings, but the witness must display a reliable basis in expertise and knowledge in his or her field. Expert witnesses typically provide specialized and technical testimony relating to a specific area. A judge essentially acts as a gatekeeper because he or she can determine if a witness can be classified as an expert.

By examining factors such as whether a witness' statements are falsifiable, refutable and testable, judges can determine the reliability of testimony. Additionally, they will examine whether the testimony directly relates to the case. The Supreme Court's most recent additions require judges to decide if testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, if it is the result of reliable methods and principles and whether the witness has properly applied such techniques to the facts of the case.

Is it possible to successfully challenge expert witnesses?

With hard work and research, you can effectively challenge the testimony of expert witnesses. This is a difficult task, but can be accomplished if you consider the facts of the case.

Be sure to have an in-depth understanding of the legal proceedings. Understand exactly what has happened, the major issues and any other factors that might influence your client. You'll need to file a Daubert motion within a reasonable time after the close of discovery, so be sure to maximize your resources when reviewing a case.

A Daubert motion hearing will take place before a case appears on a trial calendar. Make the most of this opportunity by being well prepared, as you'll need to show that evidence should be excluded because it fails to satisfy the reliability and relevancy tests of the court. Considering the facts included in the present case and past precedent could prove useful, as you may be able to use this information to support your claims. 

The Paralegal Resource