The most critical component of a challenge to expert witness testimony is arguably the disposition, or outcome of the challenge. In an effort to better understand trends in how judges rule on whether to allow experts to testify given specific challenges to qualifications, methodology, etc., we have summarized challenge outcomes into the following categories:
- Testimony admitted
- Testimony excluded or partially excluded
- Testimony relied upon or given significant weight
- Testimony not relied upon or given little weight
- Unknown or not categorized
In summary, over 27% of Daubert challenges were successful. An additional 7% of cases resulted in testimony that was ignored or given little weight. Future blog posts will further examine this critical information by profession and by jurisdiction.
Each of the challenge records in our database contains one of the listed summary outcomes in addition to other pertinent information such as case caption and citation, parties, counsel, area of law and more. The full text of judicial opinions is also available directly from each record. Users who purchase Individual Subscriptions to Courtroom Insight are able to instantly analyze expert witness challenge activity for specific experts and judges.
Learn more about Expert Witness Challenge Data at Courtroom Insight.
We are already receiving lots of positive feedback about our new judicial opinions. Here is one example excerpt that shows why these references are so valuable:
The individuals proffered as experts by plaintiff are incompetent to testify on this subject and their affidavits are conclusory and speculative. Furthermore, the affidavits fail to satisfy the evidentiary standards set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals…. Here, Mr. [EXPERT] and Mr. [EXPERT] do not meet the threshold requirement of admissibility because they are not experts on the issue of useful safe life. Plaintiff must show that Mr. [EXPERT]’s and Mr. [EXPERT]’s findings are based on sound science, which in turn requires some objective, independent validation of the methodology used. Here plaintiff has made no such showing. Plaintiff’s affidavits fail to explain the methods and procedures used in reaching the conclusion that the useful life of a properly maintained Bell 206 B II helicopter is indefinite. In addition, no external source is cited to validate methodology. The opinions seem to be based on subjective beliefs and unsupported speculation. In sum, the “expert” affidavits relied upon by plaintiff are conclusory, speculative and inadmissible under the standards set forth in Daubert.
Courtroom Insight currently has nearly 6,000 judicial opinions, with new ones being added every day. Please visit our Opinions page to learn more.
Courtroom Insight is excited to announce our new graphical interface that analyzes captured challenges for each expert and judge in our database. Over 110,000 challenge records are summarized and organized by expert and by judge. Our new charts graphically display challenges based upon four key metrics:
- Area of Law
Subscribers can now easily analyze cases at a glance, in addition to getting detailed facts about specific case and published judicial opinions. Learn more on our Challenge Data page.
We are pleased to announce that over 5,000 published quotes about expert witness performance are now available on Courtroom Insight. Our new “Opinions” tab displays insights into exactly what Federal and State judges think about testimony in particular cases. This information is critical for professionals performing due diligence on experts. One example demonstrates the usefulness of this content:
Our team of researchers continue to methodically review published judicial opinions for additional relevant quotes. We anticipate tens of thousands more quotes to be added in the coming year. All quotes are available via a Courtroom Insight review subscription. Learn more on our new Opinions page.
Individual subscriptions are available for $99 (24-hour access) or $399 annually.
Courtroom Insight’s recent reviews seem to highlight lack of professionalism. Ratings are low citing biases from judges and unreliability of expert witnesses. An excerpt taken from a review of a forensic toxicologist says:
Zero professional skills… It would have been acceptable for her to refuse the consultation initially and allow me to seek another toxicologist, but instead gave assurances without foundation.
An excerpt from a review of a Texas Judge reads:
She does not rule according to law.
To share one of your legal experiences, simply create an account on Courtroom Insight. Each review of an expert witness, mediator, arbitrator or judge takes less than 3 minutes and can be submitted anonymously.
In last week’s blog post, Kristal Sajasi described Courtroom Insight’s custom expert witness research reports and explained how attorneys benefit from incorporating this research into their vetting process. Based upon my experience as an expert witness, I believe that it’s even more important for experts to take advantage of this type of research. Let me explain why.
In order to locate or vet an expert witness, attorneys initially seek referrals and feedback from colleagues. Next, attorneys often search for relevant documents from prior testimony. Such documents may include deposition transcripts, filed expert reports, published C.V.s and judicial opinions regarding expert witness challenges. Attorneys today have greater access to this information than ever before.
- Law firms
- Improved efforts to catalog and index all documents tagged to expert witnesses. Easily located via enterprise search tools.
- LexisNexis and Westlaw
- Subscription access to vast repositories of accumulated documents and data. Searchable by expert name or by case.
- Professional associations
- Defense attorneys and plaintiff’s associations collect and share documents with other members. Offer feedback on experts via group discussions.
Whether attorneys take advantage of one or more of these specific repositories of information or simply send email requests to their colleagues, rest assured that attorneys will scour the universe of available information regarding an expert’s challenge and testimonial history. Since this research will possibly be used during deposition or cross-examination at trial, it is imperative that experts know what information is out there.
This is especially important because it is common for experts to make a conscious decision NOT to retain previously filed expert reports and depositions transcripts due to future discovery requests. Therefore, previously issued opinions and published testimony may not be readily available for review. In addition, attorneys sometimes fail to notify experts about judicial rulings and comments pertaining to motions to exclude or limit an expert’s testimony.
If you already have subscription access to expert witness research available from LexisNexis or Westlaw, then that is a good place to start. However, your results will be limited unless you subscribe to both research services. In the alternative, I encourage you to order a FREE comprehensive assessment of available information from Courtroom Insight. A Preliminary Screening Report provides a snapshot of an expert’s testimonial history and any challenges to that testimony. The report is delivered within two business days and provides an essential summary of the potential information available. If your report shows enough hits, then we suggest that you order a more thorough paid research report to learn exactly what information exists.
Don’t delay in performing this important research, no matter how you approach it. Then you won’t be surprised about what attorneys already know about you!