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California Expert Witness Guide

Raoul D. Kennedy and James C. Martin offer practical guidance on working with expert witnesses. Includes a directory of resources for locating the best expert for your case.

Raoul D. Kennedy and James C. Martin offer practical guidance on working with expert witnesses. Includes the latest statutory and case law on use of expert testimony.

  • Subject matter of expert testimony
  • Skill necessary to be expert
  • Expert’s opinion: certainty required, testimony on ultimate issue, effect
  • Types of experts
  • Locating and retaining best expert, including a directory of resources
  • Inspections, tests, experiments, and demonstrative evidence
  • Expert’s deposition in civil case
  • Preparing expert for deposition and trial
  • Cross-examination of opposing experts at trial
  • Experts and summary judgment process
Print CP31680

2d edition, looseleaf, updated June 2023

 

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  • Overview
  • Table of Contents
  • Selected Developments
  • Authors
  • OnLAW System Requirements
  • Filing Instructions
  • Page List
  • Specifications

Raoul D. Kennedy and James C. Martin offer practical guidance on working with expert witnesses. Includes the latest statutory and case law on use of expert testimony.

  • Subject matter of expert testimony
  • Skill necessary to be expert
  • Expert’s opinion: certainty required, testimony on ultimate issue, effect
  • Types of experts
  • Locating and retaining best expert, including a directory of resources
  • Inspections, tests, experiments, and demonstrative evidence
  • Expert’s deposition in civil case
  • Preparing expert for deposition and trial
  • Cross-examination of opposing experts at trial
  • Experts and summary judgment process

1

Overview

  • I.  OVERVIEW OF USING EXPERT WITNESSES IN STATE COURT
    • A.  Why Experts Are Used  1.1
    • B.  Hiring the Expert  1.2
    • C.  Admissibility Requirements for Use of Expert Testimony in Court  1.3
    • D.  Informing and Educating the Expert; Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine  1.4
    • E.  Informing and Educating the Lawyer  1.5
    • F.  Inspections, Tests, Experiments, and Demonstrative Evidence  1.6
    • G.  Discovery  1.7
    • H.  Resisting Demands for Exchange and Other Discovery: Protective Orders  1.8
    • I.  Experts and the Summary Judgment Process  1.9
    • J.  Preparing Expert for Deposition and Trial  1.10
    • K.  Depositions of Experts  1.11
    • L.  Video Recording Procedures at Deposition; Using Video Recording at Trial  1.12
    • M.  In Limine Motions in Trial Court  1.13
    • N.  Qualification and Voir Dire of Expert at Trial  1.14
    • O.  Direct Examination at Trial  1.15
    • P.  Cross-Examination at Trial; Alternatives to Cross-Examination  1.16
    • Q.  Standard of Review  1.16A
  • II.  OVERVIEW OF USING EXPERT WITNESSES IN FEDERAL COURT
    • A.  Admissibility Requirements for the Use of Expert Testimony in Court  1.17
    • B.  Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine  1.18
    • C.  Demonstrative Evidence  1.19
    • D.  Discovery  1.20
    • E.  Depositions  1.21
    • F.  Summary Judgment Motions  1.22
    • G.  Trial  1.23

2

Subject Matter of Expert Testimony

  • I.  SUBJECT MATTER OF EXPERT TESTIMONY
    • A.  Topics Must Be Beyond Common Experience and Assist Trier of Fact  2.1
    • B.  Examples of Topics Considered Appropriate for Expert Testimony  2.2
    • C.  Topics Not Sufficiently Beyond Common Experience to Permit Expert Testimony  2.3
    • D.  Topics Requiring Expert Testimony  2.4
      • 1.  When Expert Opinion Required in Professional Malpractice Case  2.4A
      • 2.  When Expert Opinion Not Required in Professional Malpractice Case  2.4B
      • 3.  When Expert Opinion Not Required in Legal Malpractice Case  2.4C
      • 4.  When Expert Opinion Not Required in Other Malpractice Cases  2.4D
    • E.  Expert Testimony Not Subject to Lay Opinion Requirements  2.5
  • II.  SUBJECT MATTER OF LAY OPINION TESTIMONY
    • A.  Permissible Scope  2.6
    • B.  Examples  2.7
  • III.  FOUNDATIONAL ATTACKS ON SUBJECT MATTER OF EXPERT TESTIMONY  2.8
  • IV.  FOUNDATIONAL ATTACKS ON SUBJECT MATTER OF LAY OPINION TESTIMONY  2.9
  • V.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Subject Matter of Expert Testimony  2.10
    • B.  Subject Matter of Lay Opinion Testimony  2.11

3

Skill Necessary to Be Expert

  • I.  REQUIREMENTS FOR EXPERT’S QUALIFICATIONS
    • A.  Qualifications Necessary to Be Expert  3.1
    • B.  Examples of Witnesses Found Unqualified to Testify as Experts  3.2
    • C.  When Specialist Within Expert Field Is Required  3.3
    • D.  Required Qualifications of Emergency Room Physicians (Health & S C §1799.110)  3.4
    • E.  Experts Who Have Never Testified  3.5
  • II.  FOUNDATIONAL ATTACKS ON QUALIFICATIONS OF EXPERTS  3.6
  • III.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE  3.7

4

Information Relied on by Expert

  • I.  EXPERT MUST BASE OPINION ON RELIABLE MATERIAL  4.1
    • A.  Limitations on Hearsay on Which Expert Can Base Opinion   4.1A
    • B.  Hearsay Requires a Human Voice  4.1B
    • C.  The Sargon Decision  4.1C
      • 1.  Facts and Holding of Sargon  4.1D
      • 2.  Sargon on Remand  4.1E
      • 3.  Lockheed and Jennings  4.1F
      • 4.  Post-Sargon Cases  4.1G
      • 5.  To What Extent Is California Now a Daubert Jurisdiction?  4.1H
    • D.  Reliable General Information Obtained From Other Experts
      • 1.  Facts, Tests, and Opinions of Other Experts  4.2
      • 2.  Other Reports and Scientific, Technical, or Professional Texts, Treatises, Journals, or Similar Publications  4.3
    • E.  Eyewitness Information in Reports  4.4
    • F.  Professional Books and Articles [Deleted]  4.5
    • G.  The “Experience Only” Expert  4.5A
    • H.  Differential Diagnosis  4.5B
    • I.  Regulatory Standards  4.5C
    • J.  Case Reports  4.5D
  • II.  WHEN EXPERT CAN BASE OPINION ON NEW SCIENTIFIC TECHNIQUES
    • A.  Kelly “General Acceptance” Test  4.6
    • B.  Kelly Test Applies Only to New Scientific Techniques  4.7
      • 1.  Technique Must Be New  4.8
      • 2.  Technique Must Be Scientific  4.9
      • 3.  Kelly Test Does Not Apply to Expert Medical Testimony  4.9A
      • 4.  Kelly Applies in Civil and Criminal Cases  4.10
      • 5.  Resources on Kelly  4.11
    • C.  Introducing Evidence in Support of New Scientific Techniques Under Kelly  4.12
    • D.  Kelly Test Applied to Specific Forms of Evidence
      • 1.  Biomechanical Analysis  4.13
      • 2.  Blood Typing  4.14
      • 3.  Exposure to Chemicals or Other Substances  4.15
      • 4.  Canine Scent Identification Lineup  4.15A
      • 5.  Computer Animation [Deleted]  4.16
      • 6.  DNA Typing  4.17
      • 7.  Eyewitness Identification  4.18
      • 8.  Fingerprint and Footprint Analysis  4.19
      • 9.  Hypnotically Induced Testimony  4.20
      • 10.  Injury Patterns and Causes  4.21
      • 11.  Nondeviant Propensities of Criminal Defendants  4.22
      • 12.  Paternity Tests  4.23
      • 13.  Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Testing  4.24
      • 14.  Polygraph Results  4.25
      • 15.  Semen Analysis  4.26
      • 16.  Sodium Amytal to Refresh Memory  4.27
      • 17.  Survey Data  4.27A
      • 18.  Syndrome Evidence
        • a.  Definition of “Syndrome”  4.28
        • b.  Use of Kelly Test for Admissibility of Syndrome Evidence  4.29
          • (1)  Syndrome’s Purpose and Use in Scientific Community  4.30
          • (2)  Nature of Syndrome’s Proponent  4.31
          • (3)  Use of Syndrome Evidence in Rebuttal  4.32
        • c.  Introducing Syndrome Evidence  4.33
        • d.  Resources on Syndrome Evidence  4.34
      • 19.  Urinalysis  4.34A
      • 20.  Voice Print Identification  4.35
  • III.  MATTER ON WHICH EXPERT MAY NOT RELY
    • A.  Pre-Sargon Examples of Incorrect Theory, Speculation, Information From Incompetent Witnesses, or Improper Reference Materials  4.36
      • 1.  Examples: Personal Injury Cases  4.37
      • 2.  Examples: Commercial Cases  4.38
      • 3.  Examples: Criminal Cases  4.39
      • 4.  Examples: Other Cases  4.40
    • B.  Statutory Prohibitions  4.41
      • 1.  Character Evidence Used to Prove Conduct  4.42
      • 2.  Employee Injury Reports  4.43
      • 3.  Liability Insurance  4.44
      • 4.  National Transportation Safety Board Reports  4.45
      • 5.  Nolo Contendere Plea  4.46
      • 6.  Settlement Conference Offers and Comments  4.47
      • 7.  Subsequent Safety Measures  4.48
      • 8.  Traffic Accident Reports  4.49
      • 9.  Hospital Peer Review Records  4.49A
  • IV.  EXPERTS AND THE CLASS CERTIFICATION PROCESS
    • A.  Evolving Standards  4.49B
    • B.  Class Action Experts in California  4.49C
    • C.  Class Action Experts in Federal Court  4.49D
    • D.  Interplay Between Daubert and Rule 23 Motions  4.49E
  • V.  FOUNDATIONAL ATTACKS ON INFORMATION RELIED ON BY EXPERT  4.50
  • VI.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Expert May Base Opinion on Facts or Data That Expert Has Been Made Aware of or Personally Observed  4.51
      • 1.  Information Need Not Be Admissible if of Type Reasonably Relied on by Experts in Field  4.52
      • 2.  Information May Be Obtained From Other Experts  4.53
      • 3.  Information May Be Obtained From Learned Treatises  4.54
    • B.  Scientific Testimony or Information on Which It Is Based Is Admissible if It Meets Daubert Test
      • 1.  Background to Daubert  4.55
      • 2.  Daubert, Joiner, and Kumho  4.56
      • 3.  Daubert Applies to Scientific, Technical, or Other Specialized Knowledge [Deleted]  4.57
      • 4.  Procedure Under Daubert  4.58
      • 5.  Appellate Review Under Daubert
        • a.  Applicable Standards of Review  4.59
        • b.  Sufficiency of Evidence Standard Unaffected by Daubert  4.60
      • 6.  Applicability of Frye Test After Daubert  4.61
        • a.  Evidence Admissible Under Frye: Admissible Under Daubert  4.62
        • b.  Evidence Excluded Under Frye: Not Admissible Under Daubert  4.63
        • c.  Evidence Admitted Under Daubert: May Not Have Been Admissible Under Frye  4.64
      • 7.  Resources on Daubert [Deleted]  4.65
    • C.  Daubert Test Applied to Specific Forms of Evidence  4.65A
      • 1.  Chemicals  4.66
      • 2.  Frye Examples of Chemical Exposure [Deleted]  4.67
      • 3.  Radiation  4.68
      • 4.  Drugs and Medical Devices  4.69
      • 5.  Economic Testimony  4.70
      • 6.  Defective Product Design  4.71
      • 7.  Alternative Designs and Warnings  4.72
      • 8.  Psychological Tests and Evidence  4.73
      • 9.  Chromatography Tests  4.74
      • 10.  Eyewitness Identification  4.75
      • 11.  Forensic Psychology  4.76
      • 12.  Handwriting Analysis  4.76A
      • 13.  Polygraph Results  4.77
      • 14.  Syndrome and Profile Evidence  4.78
      • 15.  Thermography  4.79
      • 16.  Voice Identification  4.80
      • 17.  Voice Stress Analysis  4.81
      • 18.  DNA Typing  4.82
      • 19.  Fingerprint and Footprint Analysis  4.83
      • 20.  Accident Reconstruction and Analysis  4.84
      • 21.  Biotechnology  4.84A
      • 22.  Differential Diagnosis  4.84B
      • 23.  Class Certification [Deleted]  4.84C
    • D.  Property Damage Repairs  4.84D
    • E.  Metallurgy  4.84E
    • F.  Dog Sniff Narcotics Alerts  4.84F
    • G.  Environmental Contamination  4.84G
    • H.  Statutory Benefits  4.84H
    • I.  Matter on Which Expert May Not Rely  4.85
      • 1.  Speculation, Information From Incompetent Witnesses, or Improper Reference Materials  4.86
      • 2.  Statutory Prohibitions  4.87

5

Expert’s Opinion: Certainty Required, Testimony on Ultimate Issue, Effect

  • I.  CERTAINTY WITH WHICH OPINION MUST BE EXPRESSED  5.1
  • II.  TESTIMONY ON ULTIMATE ISSUE
    • A.  Testimony on Ultimate Issue Permissible  5.2
    • B.  Testimony on Legal Conclusions Not Permissible  5.3
    • C.  Testimony Concerning Punitive Damages  5.3A
    • D.  Testimony Concerning Class Certification Issues [Deleted]  5.3B
    • E.  When Interpretation of Writing Can Be Testified to by Expert  5.4
  • III.  EFFECT OF EXPERT TESTIMONY
    • A.  When It Is Conclusive in Civil Cases  5.5
    • B.  When It Is Conclusive in Criminal Cases  5.6
    • C.  Effect of Internally Inconsistent Expert Testimony: Question of Fact for the Jury  5.7
      • 1.  Suing for Attorney Fees or Sanctions [Deleted]  5.7A
      • 2.  Suits Against Adverse Experts [Deleted]  5.7B
      • 3.  Suits Against One’s Own Experts [Deleted]  5.7C
    • D.  Effect of Internally Inconsistent Expert Testimony: Question of Fact for the Jury [Deleted]  5.7D
    • E.  When Expert Testimony Can Be Rejected as Matter of Law  5.8
  • IV.  EFFECT OF INACCURATE, FALSE, OR PERJURED TESTIMONY  5.9
    • A.  Suits Against Adverse Experts  5.9A
    • B.  Suits Against One's Own Experts  5.9B
  • V.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Certainty With Which Opinion Must Be Expressed  5.10
    • B.  Testimony on Ultimate Issue  5.11
      • 1.  Questions of Fact versus Conclusion of Law  5.11A
      • 2.  Interpretation of Writings  5.11B
    • C.  Expert Testimony Not Usually Conclusive  5.12
    • D.  Effect of False or Perjured Testimony  5.13
    • E.  Can Expert Testimony Be an Admission by Party-Opponent?  5.14

6

Types of Experts

  • I.  ECONOMIC EXPERTS
    • A.  In General  6.1
    • B.  Accountants  6.2
    • C.  Actuaries and Annuitists  6.3
    • D.  Appraisers  6.4
      • 1.  Business and Financial Appraisers  6.4A
      • 2.  Art, Heirloom, and Personal Property Appraisers  6.4B
    • E.  Using Economist’s Testimony
      • 1.  Division of Community Property  6.5
      • 2.  Lost Profits and Damages  6.6
      • 3.  Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Damages  6.7
      • 4.  Tax Consequences  6.8
  • II.  ENGINEERS
    • A.  Acoustical Engineers  6.9
    • B.  Aeronautical Engineers  6.10
    • C.  Biomechanical Engineers  6.11
    • D.  Ceramics Engineers  6.12
    • E.  Chemical Engineers  6.13
    • F.  Civil Engineers  6.14
    • G.  Electrical Engineers  6.15
    • H.  Health Chemistry Engineers  6.16
    • I.  Human Factors Engineers  6.17
    • J.  Industrial Safety Engineers  6.18
    • K.  Mechanical Engineers  6.19
    • L.  Metallurgical Engineers  6.20
    • M.  Soils Engineers  6.21
    • N.  Testing Engineers  6.22
  • III.  JUDGES AS EXPERTS  6.23
  • IV.  LEGAL EXPERTS  6.24
  • V.  MEDICAL EXPERTS
    • A.  Medical Doctors
      • 1.  Use in Criminal Cases  6.25
      • 2.  Use in Medical Malpractice Cases  6.26
      • 3.  Use in Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Proceedings  6.27
      • 4.  Use in Products Liability Litigation  6.28
    • B.  Psychiatrists and Psychologists
      • 1.  In General  6.29
      • 2.  Use in Civil Cases  6.30
      • 3.  Use in Criminal Cases  6.31
    • C.  Nondoctor Medical Experts  6.32
    • D.  Medical Expert Specialization  6.33
  • VI.  POLICE OFFICERS  6.34
  • VII.  OTHER AREAS OF EXPERTISE
    • A.  Determining Appropriate Specialty  6.35
    • B.  Description of Specialists
      • 1.  Accident Analysts  6.36
      • 2.  Accountant Experts  6.36A
      • 3.  Agronomists  6.37
      • 4.  Anthropologists  6.38
      • 5.  Architectural Consultants  6.39
      • 6.  Chemists  6.40
      • 7.  Climatologists and Meteorologists  6.41
      • 8.  Computer Forensic Experts  6.41A
      • 9.  Custom and Usage Experts  6.41B
      • 10.  Environmental Experts  6.42
      • 11.  Epidemiologists  6.43
      • 12.  Geneticists and Molecular Biologists  6.44
      • 13.  Human Resources Experts  6.44A
      • 14.  Hypnotists  6.45
      • 15.  Insurance Experts  6.46
      • 16.  Intellectual Property Experts  6.47
      • 17.  Laboratory Technicians  6.48
      • 18.  Lie Detector (Polygraph) Examiners  6.49
      • 19.  Marine Surveyors  6.50
      • 20.  Musicologists  6.51
      • 21.  Pharmacologists  6.52
      • 22.  Physicists  6.53
      • 23.  Polling and Survey Experts  6.54
      • 24.  Questioned Document Examiners  6.55
      • 25.  Security Consultants and Experts  6.55A
      • 26.  Sexual Harassment Perceptions Experts  6.55B
      • 27.  Implicit Bias Experts  6.55C
      • 28.  Statisticians  6.56
      • 29.  Timekeeping, Payroll, and Billing Databases  6.56A
      • 30.  Vocational Training Consultants  6.57
      • 31.  Wood Technologists  6.58
  • VIII.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Economic Experts
      • 1.  Antitrust Experts  6.59
      • 2.  Hedonic Damages  6.60
      • 3.  Lost Profits and Impact of Income Taxes on Future Earnings  6.61
      • 4.  Multiple Regression Analysis  6.61A
    • B.  Judge Not Allowed to Testify as Witness at Trial  6.62

7

Locating and Retaining Best Expert

  • I.  DECIDING WHETHER EXPERT WITNESS IS NEEDED  7.1
  • II.  DECIDING KIND OF EXPERT TO USE  7.2
  • III.  HIRING MULTIPLE EXPERTS ON SAME TOPIC  7.3
  • IV.  TIME TO HIRE EXPERT
    • A.  Architect, Engineer, and Land Surveyor Malpractice Cases  7.4
    • B.  Advantages of Early Retention in Other Cases  7.5
  • V.  LOCATING POTENTIAL EXPERTS
    • A.  Personal Referrals  7.6
    • B.  Online Resources  7.6A
      • 1.  Searching the Subject Matter  7.6B
      • 2.  Searching for Experts  7.6C
    • C.  Jury Verdict Reporting Services  7.7
    • D.  Reported Appellate Decisions  7.8
    • E.  University and College Faculties  7.9
    • F.  Authors of Books, Articles, and Treatises  7.10
    • G.  Professional Directories, Deskbooks, and Society Membership Rosters  7.11
    • H.  Regulatory Bodies and Trade Associations  7.12
    • I.  Internet Research  7.13
    • J.  “No-Degree” Expert  7.14
    • K.  Experts Already in Case  7.15
  • VI.  SELECTING BEST POSSIBLE EXPERT
    • A.  Introduction  7.16
    • B.  Conflicts of Interest  7.17
    • C.  Factors to Consider in Picking Best Expert
      • 1.  Qualifications  7.18
      • 2.  Effect on Jury  7.19
      • 3.  Capability as Witness  7.20
      • 4.  Independence  7.21
      • 5.  Available Time  7.22
      • 6.  Compatibility With Attorney  7.23
      • 7.  Bias  7.24
      • 8.  Expert’s Writings and Previous Testimony  7.25
      • 9.  Expert’s Acceptance of Counsel’s Position  7.26
      • 10.  Experienced or Inexperienced as Witness
        • a.  Experienced Expert  7.27
        • b.  Inexperienced Expert  7.28
      • 11.  Employee-Expert or Outsider  7.29
  • VII.  COURT-APPOINTED EXPERTS  7.30
  • VIII.  RETAINING EXPERTS
    • A.  Initial Contact by Attorney  7.31
    • B.  Fee Agreement  7.32
    • C.  Form: Sample Expert Retention Letter Agreement  7.32A
  • IX.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Court Appointment of Experts  7.33
      • 1.  Appointment Without Consent of Parties  7.33A
      • 2.  Appointment of Advisors or Consultants  7.33B
    • B.  Expert’s Conflict of Interest  7.34
    • C.  Retention of Percipient Witnesses as Experts  7.35
    • D.  Contingent Compensation of Experts  7.35A
  • X.  DIRECTORY OF RESOURCES FOR LOCATING EXPERT WITNESSES  7.36

8

Dealing With Counsel’s Own Expert

  • I.  MAINTAINING CONFIDENTIALITY  8.1
    • A.  Attorney-Client Privilege
      • 1.  Narrow Applicability to Experts  8.2
      • 2.  No Privilege Generally  8.3
      • 3.  Exceptions: When Privilege May Apply
        • a.  Expert as Agent of Client  8.4
        • b.  Expert as Employee of Corporate Client
          • (1)  California Law  8.5
          • (2)  Urging Application of Federal Law  8.6
      • 4.  Waiver  8.7
    • B.  Work Product Doctrine
      • 1.  Purpose; Who Is Protected  8.8
      • 2.  Nature of Rule
        • a.  What Is Not Work Product; Work Product That Is Expressly Not Protected  8.9
        • b.  Two Levels of Protection  8.10
        • c.  Determining Level of Work Product Protection  8.11
        • d.  Overcoming Conditional Work Product Protection
          • (1)  Good Cause  8.12
          • (2)  Conditional Protection Lost When Expert Testifies  8.13
        • e.  Waiver  8.14
        • f.  Misuse and Abuse of Work Product Protection  8.15
        • g.  Work Product Protection for Expert Hired as Consultant and Later Designated as Witness  8.16
        • h.  Duration and Extent of Work Product Protection  8.17
      • 3.  The Expert and the Work Product Doctrine
        • a.  The Expert as Consultant  8.18
        • b.  The Expert as Witness  8.19
    • C.  Practical Considerations
      • 1.  Determining Whether to Use Consultant as Expert Witness  8.20
      • 2.  Minimizing Risk of “Contaminating” Expert  8.21
      • 3.  Reports, Notes, and Communications to and From Expert
        • a.  Generally Keep to a Minimum  8.22
        • b.  Reports  8.23
    • D.  Confidentiality in Criminal Cases: Attorney-Client Privilege, Privilege Against Self-Incrimination, and Work Product Doctrine  8.24
  • II.  INFORMING AND EDUCATING THE EXPERT
    • A.  Supplying Expert With Facts
      • 1.  Information That Should Be Provided  8.25
      • 2.  Information That Should Not Be Provided  8.26
      • 3.  Information Covered by Protective Orders  8.26A
      • 4.  Supplementing Expert’s Factual Information  8.27
    • B.  Explaining the Law  8.28
  • III.  INFORMING AND EDUCATING THE LAWYER
    • A.  In General  8.29
    • B.  Asking Questions  8.30
    • C.  Learning Relevant Vocabulary  8.31
    • D.  Reading Necessary Literature  8.32
    • E.  Witnessing Tests, Experiments, and Inspections  8.33
  • IV.  MAINTAINING CONTACT WITH EXPERT  8.34
  • V.  DEALING WITH MULTIPLE EXPERTS  8.35
  • VI.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Attorney-Client Privilege
      • 1.  In General  8.36
      • 2.  Corporate Context: Subject Matter Test  8.37
    • B.  Federal Work Product Doctrine: Contrasted With California Law  8.38
      • 1.  Two Types of Work Product  8.39
      • 2.  Four Types of Experts  8.40
      • 3.  Jury and Trial Consultants  8.40A
      • 4.  Duration and Extent of Protection  8.41
      • 5.  Waiver  8.42

9

Inspections, Tests, Experiments, and Demonstrative Evidence

  • I.  INTRODUCTION: TESTED VERSUS UNTESTED OPINIONS  9.1
  • II.  FOLLOWING SCIENTIFIC METHOD CONCERNING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
    • A.  Collecting and Investigating Evidence
      • 1.  Visiting the Scene  9.2
      • 2.  Examining and Handling Physical Evidence  9.3
      • 3.  Providing Expert With Originals or Complete Copies  9.4
      • 4.  Having Expert Speak Directly With Parties and Witnesses  9.5
    • B.  Testing Physical Evidence
      • 1.  Following the Scientific Method  9.6
      • 2.  Checklist: Trial Considerations When Testing Evidence  9.7
      • 3.  Obtaining Evidence for Testing When Counsel Does Not Have Custody of It  9.8
      • 4.  Concealment, Alteration, or Destruction of Evidence  9.9
      • 5.  Loss of Evidence  9.10
      • 6.  Failure to Preserve Evidence  9.11
      • 7.  Chain of Custody Considerations  9.12
    • C.  Experiments
      • 1.  Requirements  9.13
      • 2.  Checklist: Trial Considerations Concerning Experiments  9.14
  • III.  USING DEMONSTRATIVE EVIDENCE AT TRIAL
    • A.  Using Demonstrative Evidence to Enhance Counsel’s Presentation  9.15
    • B.  Some Common Types of Demonstrative Evidence
      • 1.  Charts, Graphs, and Summaries  9.16
      • 2.  Computer Simulations and Video Animations  9.17
      • 3.  Diagrams and Maps  9.18
      • 4.  Jury Views  9.19
      • 5.  Models  9.20
      • 6.  Photographs  9.21
      • 7.  Video Recordings and Motion Pictures  9.22
    • C.  Use of PowerPoint and Other Computer Presentations of Evidence  9.23
  • IV.  FOUNDATIONAL ATTACKS ON INSPECTIONS, TESTS, EXPERIMENTS, AND DEMONSTRATIVE EVIDENCE  9.24
  • V.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE  9.25

10

Discovering Identity and Noticing Depositions of Opposing Experts

  • I.  EXPERT DISCOVERY IN CIVIL CASES
    • A.  Statutory Authority for Expert Witness Discovery
      • 1.  Exchange of Expert Witness Information; When Discovery Occurs  10.1
      • 2.  Determining Who Is a Retained Expert  10.2
      • 3.  Special Rules in Cases Ordered to Arbitration  10.3
    • B.  Demand to Exchange Expert Witness Information
      • 1.  When to Make Demand  10.4
        • a.  Effect of Premature Demand  10.4A
        • b.  Effect of Reversal and Remittitur  10.4B
      • 2.  Determining Date of Exchange  10.5
      • 3.  Effect of a Trial Continuance  10.5A
      • 4.  Expert Witnesses Whose Identity Must Be Disclosed  10.6
      • 5.  Contents of Demand; Service  10.7
      • 6.  Demanding Discoverable Reports and Writings
        • a.  Specific Demand Required; Experts Subject to This Demand  10.8
        • b.  Form and Service  10.9
        • c.  Types of Discoverable Reports and Writings  10.10
    • C.  Exchange of Expert Witness Information
      • 1.  Contents; Attorney’s Expert Witness Declaration  10.11
      • 2.  Production of Reports and Writings
        • a.  Who Must Produce Reports and Writings; Time of Production  10.12
        • b.  Stipulation to Exchange Copies of Reports by Mail; Copying Costs  10.13
        • c.  When Not Demanded, but Other Parties Desire Production of Reports  10.14
      • 3.  Custody of Original Demand and Any Information Received in Response to It  10.15
      • 4.  Submission of Supplemental Expert Witness Information After Exchange Date  10.16
      • 5.  Checklist: Motion to Submit Tardy Expert Witness Information  10.17
      • 6.  Motion to Augment or Amend Expert Witness Information
        • a.  Purpose and Application  10.18
        • b.  Checklist: Motion to Augment or Amend Expert Witness Information  10.19
      • 7.  Withdrawal of Designated Expert Witness Who Has Not Been Deposed  10.20
    • D.  Exceptions to Expert Disclosure Requirements
      • 1.  When Party Entitled to Call Undesignated Expert at Trial
        • a.  Expert Previously Deposed  10.21
        • b.  Impeachment Expert  10.22
        • c.  Expert Offering Nonopinion Factual Testimony  10.23
        • d.  Expert Designated After New Trial Granted  10.23A
      • 2.  Expert Disclosure Requirements Apply to Both Trial and Pretrial Proceedings  10.24
    • E.  Sanctions for Failure to Meet Expert Disclosure Requirements  10.25
    • F.  Attorneys’ Informal Communications With Other Parties’ Experts; Ethical Considerations  10.26
    • G.  Independent Medical Examinations
      • 1.  Independent Medical Examination Procedures Generally; Examination by Stipulation  10.27
      • 2.  Procedures for Independent Medical Examination When Initiated by Defendant
        • a.  Demand for Physical Examination by Defendant  10.28
        • b.  Plaintiff’s Response to Demand for Physical Examination  10.29
        • c.  Defendant’s Response to Plaintiff’s Failure to Comply  10.30
      • 3.  Court-Ordered Physical or Mental Examinations  10.31
      • 4.  Observer’s Attendance; Suspension of Examination; Recordation  10.32
      • 5.  Reciprocal Exchange of Reports
        • a.  Demand by Party Examined; Waiver of Privilege; Sanctions  10.33
        • b.  Examining Party’s Right to Exchange of Reports; Sanctions  10.34
    • H.  Depositions of Experts; Tendering Fees
      • 1.  When Experts Can Be Deposed  10.35
      • 2.  Compelling Expert’s Attendance  10.36
      • 3.  Place of Deposition  10.37
      • 4.  Tender of Expert Fees
        • a.  How Payment Is Determined  10.38
        • b.  How Payment Is Made  10.38A
        • c.  Expert Fees in Workers’ Compensation Proceedings  10.39
      • 5.  Video Recording Expert’s Deposition  10.40
      • 6.  Production of Documents at Deposition  10.41
      • 7.  Timing of Expert Witness Depositions  10.42
    • I.  Resisting Demands for Exchange and Other Discovery
      • 1.  Seeking Protective Order; Sanctions  10.43
      • 2.  Challenging Excessive Number of Experts Designated in Exchange  10.44
    • J.  Disputes Over Expert Witness Fees
      • 1.  Court Order Setting Expert Fees  10.45
      • 2.  Recovery of Expert Witness Fees as Costs of Suit  10.46
        • a.  CCP §998 Offers in General  10.46A
        • b.  Joint CCP §998 Offers  10.46B
        • c.  Contractual Provisions  10.46C
        • d.  Arbitration Requests  10.46D
        • e.  Other Statutory Provisions  10.46E
  • II.  EXPERT DISCOVERY IN CRIMINAL CASES  10.47
  • III.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Discovery Concerning Experts
      • 1.  Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26  10.48
      • 2.  Draft Reports and Communications Between Counsel and Experts  10.48A
      • 3.  Case-Specific Disclosure Requirements  10.48B
      • 4.  Experts Who Will Testify
        • a.  Identifying Expert Trial Witnesses  10.49
        • b.  Disclosures About Treating Physicians  10.49A
        • c.  Designation of Additional Expert Witnesses  10.49B
        • d.  Withdrawal of Designated Expert Witnesses  10.50
        • e.  Depositions of Trial Experts  10.51
      • 5.  Discovery of Opinions of Nontestifying Experts
        • a.  Retained or Specially Employed Experts
          • (1)  Discoverable on Showing of Exceptional Circumstances  10.52
          • (2)  What Constitutes “Exceptional Circumstances”  10.53
        • b.  Informally Consulted Experts  10.54
      • 6.  The In-House Expert  10.55
      • 7.  Discovery of Opinions of Percipient Witnesses Who Are Also Experts  10.56
      • 8.  Sanctions for Failure to Disclose Expert Witness Information  10.57
      • 9.  The Research Scholar  10.58
    • B.  Independent Medical Examinations  10.59
    • C.  Recovery of Expert Witness Fees
      • 1.  Recovery as Costs  10.60
      • 2.  Recovery of Preparation Time  10.60A
    • D.  Informal Communication by Attorney With Other Parties’ Experts  10.61
  • IV.  FORMS
    • A.  Form: Demand for Exchange of Expert Trial Witness Information  10.62
    • B.  Form: Exchange of Expert Trial Witness Information; Expert Witness Declaration  10.63
    • C.  Form: Deposition Subpoena for Personal Appearance (Judicial Council Form SUBP-015)  10.64
    • D.  Form: Deposition Subpoena for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents and Things (Judicial Council Form SUBP-020)  10.65
    • E.  Form: Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records (Judicial Council Form SUBP-010)  10.66
    • F.  Form: Notice of Deposition of Disclosed Expert; Demand for Production of Documents at Deposition  10.67

11

Expert’s Deposition in Civil Case

  • I.  ROLE OF COUNSEL TAKING DEPOSITION OF OPPOSING EXPERT
    • A.  Purpose of Deposition; Procedures  11.1
    • B.  Scheduling Expert Depositions in Cases With Numerous Experts  11.2
    • C.  When to Have Own Expert Attend Opposing Expert’s Deposition  11.3
    • D.  Stipulations  11.4
    • E.  When Expert Is Unprepared or Uncooperative; Sanctions  11.5
    • F.  How Not to Depose Expert  11.6
    • G.  Areas That Must Be Covered
      • 1.  Checklist: Questions to Ask Opposing Expert at Deposition  11.7
      • 2.  Education and Employment Background  11.8
      • 3.  Prior Experience as Expert  11.9
      • 4.  Assignment and Assumptions  11.10
      • 5.  How Time on Case Has Been Spent  11.11
      • 6.  Materials Referred to, Considered, or Relied on  11.12
      • 7.  Assistance That Expert Has Received  11.13
      • 8.  Expert’s Opinions and Reports  11.14
      • 9.  Bases for Each Opinion  11.15
      • 10.  Inconsistencies With Each Opinion  11.16
      • 11.  Other Contemplated Work  11.17
    • H.  Additional Questions That May Be Appropriate  11.18
      • 1.  Traditional Cross-Examination  11.19
      • 2.  Assume Expert Is Correct  11.20
      • 3.  Make Expert Go to Extreme  11.21
      • 4.  Is Expert Too Consistent?  11.22
      • 5.  Does Expert Really Fit Case?  11.23
      • 6.  What Would Satisfy Expert?  11.24
      • 7.  Who Agrees With the Expert?  11.24A
    • I.  Compelling Expert to Answer Deposition Questions  11.25
    • J.  Updating Information Concerning Previously Deposed Expert  11.26
    • K.  When Deposition Is Recorded on Video
      • 1.  Controlling Law; Procedures  11.27
      • 2.  Treat Expert Like Witness at Trial  11.28
  • II.  ROLE AT DEPOSITION OF COUNSEL WHOSE OWN EXPERT IS BEING DEPOSED
    • A.  Preparing Expert for Deposition  11.29
    • B.  Seeking Protective Order  11.30
    • C.  Deposition Objections  11.31
      • 1.  Inadequate Hypothetical Questions  11.32
      • 2.  Materials Not Consulted, Referred to, or Relied on  11.33
      • 3.  Questions Outside Expert’s Designated Area of Expertise  11.34
      • 4.  Fact Witness Who Is Also an Expert  11.34A
  • III.  DEPOSING COUNSEL’S OWN EXPERT  11.35
  • IV.  ROLE OF ATTORNEY WHEN OPPOSING COUNSEL IS DEPOSING OPPOSING COUNSEL’S EXPERT  11.36
  • V.  USE OF WRITS TO REVIEW DEPOSITION RULINGS  11.37
  • VI.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Deposition of Expert Trial Witness  11.38
    • B.  Objections at Deposition  11.39
    • C.  Writs to Review Discovery Orders  11.40

12

Preparing Expert for Deposition and Trial

  • I.  NEED FOR PREPARATION; SCHEDULING
    • A.  Need for Preparation  12.1
    • B.  Scheduling  12.2
  • II.  PREPARING EXPERT TO TESTIFY
    • A.  Checklist: Preparing Expert to Testify  12.3
    • B.  Preparing Expert to Testify at Deposition in Civil Cases
      • 1.  Explaining Deposition Procedures to Expert
        • a.  Purpose of Deposition  12.4
        • b.  Deposition Procedures  12.5
        • c.  Objections  12.6
        • d.  Distinguishing Friend From Foe  12.7
        • e.  Hypothetical Questions  12.8
        • f.  Habits and Idiosyncrasies of Other Counsel  12.9
        • g.  Avoiding Arguments With Other Counsel  12.10
      • 2.  Preparing Expert’s Substantive Testimony
        • a.  Nature of Assignment  12.11
        • b.  Materials Referred to, Considered, or Relied on  12.12
        • c.  Refreshing Recollection  12.13
        • d.  File Contents  12.14
        • e.  Compensation  12.15
        • f.  Work Performed on Case; Opinions Reached and Bases for Them  12.16
        • g.  Inconsistencies and Additional Contemplated Work  12.17
        • h.  Anticipating Scope of Opposing Counsel’s Examination of Expert  12.18
    • C.  Preparing Expert to Testify at Trial
      • 1.  Attorney’s Organization  12.19
      • 2.  When to Prepare  12.20
      • 3.  Explaining Trial Procedures
        • a.  Courtroom Procedures  12.21
        • b.  Expert’s Appearance  12.22
        • c.  Questions From Judge  12.23
        • d.  Technical Language  12.24
        • e.  Leading Questions  12.25
        • f.  Hypothetical Questions  12.26
        • g.  Avoiding Arguments With Other Counsel  12.27
      • 4.  Preparing Expert’s Substantive Testimony for Trial
        • a.  Review of Deposition Preparation  12.28
        • b.  Review of Materials  12.29
          • (1)  Expert’s Own Deposition  12.30
          • (2)  Depositions of Opposing Experts  12.31
          • (3)  Other Key Depositions  12.32
          • (4)  Key Reports, Materials, and Documents  12.33
          • (5)  Examination of Places and Physical Objects  12.34
          • (6)  Examination of Exhibits and Demonstrative Evidence  12.35
      • 5.  Rehearsal; Reevaluation of Case  12.36
    • D.  Preparation in Criminal Cases  12.37
  • III.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE  12.38

13

Direct Examination of Expert at Trial

  • I.  INTRODUCTION: PHILOSOPHY OF DIRECT EXAMINATION  13.1
  • II.  EXPERTS’ QUALIFICATIONS
    • A.  How to Approach Questions Concerning Expert’s Qualifications  13.2
    • B.  Checklist: Qualification Questions to Ask Expert  13.3
    • C.  Building Drama Into Qualification Process  13.4
    • D.  Waiving Qualification of Expert  13.5
    • E.  Opposing Counsel’s Voir Dire of Expert  13.6
  • III.  EXPERT’S SUBSTANTIVE TESTIMONY
    • A.  Work Performed on Case  13.7
    • B.  Expert’s Opinion
      • 1.  Stating Opinion and Grounds  13.8
        • a.  Reliance on Inadmissible Evidence  13.8A
        • b.  Charts and Summaries  13.8B
      • 2.  Hypothetical Questions
        • a.  Contents  13.9
        • b.  Opinions That May Be Expressed in Response  13.10
        • c.  Objections  13.11
        • d.  Pros and Cons  13.12
    • C.  Clarification and Simplification of Technical Concepts  13.13
    • D.  Use of Exhibits and Demonstrative Evidence  13.14
    • E.  Elimination of Alternative Explanations  13.15
    • F.  Leading Questions Permitted on Direct Examination of Expert  13.16
    • G.  Eye Contact With Jury  13.17
  • IV.  SUBSTITUTES FOR LIVE TESTIMONY
    • A.  Video Recording of Expert Substituted for Live Testimony  13.18
    • B.  Using Expert Testimony Given in Former Trial  13.19
  • V.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE  13.20

14

Alternatives to Cross-Examination

  • I.  WAYS TO CHALLENGE OPPOSING EXPERTS  14.1
    • A.  Effect of the Sanchez Decision  14.1A
  • II.  MOTIONS IN LIMINE
    • A.  Description of Motions in Limine  14.2
    • B.  Determining Whether Motion in Limine Is Needed  14.3
  • III.  VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION OF EXPERT
    • A.  Basis and Purpose  14.4
    • B.  Whether to Voir Dire in Front of Jurors  14.5
    • C.  Avoiding Overuse of Voir Dire  14.6
    • D.  Illustrative Areas for Voir Dire Examination  14.7
  • IV.  USING OWN EXPERT TO ATTACK OPPOSING EXPERT’S TESTIMONY  14.8
  • V.  OBJECTIONS AND MOTIONS TO STRIKE DURING DIRECT EXAMINATION  14.9
    • A.  Lack of Foundation  14.9A
    • B.  Evidence Code §352  14.9B
    • C.  Opinion Goes Beyond Deposition Testimony  14.9C
  • VI.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE  14.10

15

Cross-Examination of Opposing Experts at Trial

  • I.  INTRODUCTION  15.1
  • II.  PREPARATION FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION
    • A.  Review Expert’s Deposition and Other Discovery Concerning Expert  15.2
    • B.  Review Information Including Publications the Expert Referred to, Considered, or Relied on  15.3
    • C.  Review the Expert’s Subject Matter Area  15.4
    • D.  Consult With One’s Own Expert; Complete Trial Notebook  15.5
  • III.  CROSS-EXAMINATION OF OPPOSING EXPERT
    • A.  Having Counsel’s Own Expert Present; Permissible Scope of Cross-Examination  15.6
    • B.  Peripheral Cross-Examination
      • 1.  Nature of Peripheral Cross-Examination  15.7
      • 2.  Things That Should Have Happened But Did Not (Dogs That Did Not Bark)  15.7A
      • 3.  Advantage of Small Victory  15.8
      • 4.  Yes and No Answers  15.9
      • 5.  Controlling Expert’s Eye Contact With Jury  15.10
      • 6.  Principle of Graduality  15.11
      • 7.  Prior Testimony  15.12
      • 8.  Lack of Entries and Notes  15.13
      • 9.  Payment Received by Expert; Costs of Preparation  15.14
      • 10.  Comparative Qualifications  15.15
      • 11.  Bias
        • a.  In General  15.16
        • b.  Witness Who Works for Corporate Party  15.17
        • c.  Witness Who Does Not Work for Corporate Party  15.18
        • d.  Expert Who Only Testifies for One Side  15.19
      • 12.  Lack of Precise Prior Experience as Expert Consultant or Witness  15.20
      • 13.  Lack of Precise Expertise in Subject  15.21
      • 14.  Eliciting Expert’s Opinion on Correcting Problem  15.22
    • C.  Nonperipheral Cross-Examination
      • 1.  Reason for Nonperipheral Cross-Examination  15.23
      • 2.  Materials Relied on and Publications Referred to, Considered, or Relied on  15.24
      • 3.  Inconsistencies or Contradictions With Judicially Noticeable Materials  15.25
      • 4.  Conflicts Between Expert Opinion and Other Evidence  15.26
      • 5.  The “So What” Cross-Examination  15.27
      • 6.  Cover Questions  15.28
    • D.  Hypothetical Questions on Cross-Examination
      • 1.  In General  15.29
      • 2.  Progressively More Absurd Hypothetical Questions  15.30
  • IV.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE  15.31

16

Experts and Summary Judgment Process

  • I.  SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS
    • A.  Purpose  16.1
    • B.  Use of Experts to Support or Oppose Motions  16.2
  • II.  REQUIREMENTS CONCERNING EXPERT’S AFFIDAVIT OR DECLARATION
    • A.  Form and Content of Affidavit or Declaration  16.3
    • B.  Whether to File Expert Affidavit or Declaration in Response to Motion  16.4
    • C.  Do Expert Witness Disclosure Requirements Apply to Summary Judgment Motions?  16.5
    • D.  Deposition of Experts Used to Support or Oppose Motion  16.5A
  • III.  FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
    • A.  Role of Expert Opinion in Summary Judgment Motions  16.6
    • B.  Burden of Proof  16.7

Selected Developments

June 2023 Update

Summarized below are some of the more important developments included in this update since publication of the June 2022 update.

Subject Matter of Expert Testimony

Topics Considered Appropriate for Expert Testimony. In Lee v Amazon.com, Inc. (2022) 76 CA5th 200, 222–26, the court considered expert testimony on the presence of a Proposition 65 chemical in products based on sample testing. See §2.2.

For a recent case involving subsets of criminal street gangs and the expert testimony required, see People v Vasquez (2022) 74 CA5th 1021, 1036 (evidence of subsets of gangs does not require same level of associational evidence required in Prunty). See §2.2.

An expert opinion is typically necessary to determine the fair market value of real property in an action to enforce a sales agreement, though a court may reach a different conclusion based on other relevant evidence. See Greif v Sanin (2022) 74 CA5th 412, 443–46. See §2.2.

Topic Not Sufficiently Beyond Common Experience to Permit Expert Testimony. In a slip and fall case, expert testimony was not required to show whether the absence of a stair handrail, the size of the risers, or both caused someone to fall. See Kaney v Custance (2022) 74 CA5th 201, 217. See §§2.3.

In a criminal case, a police officer did not need to be qualified as an expert to testify as to the identification of a substance on clothing or fabric as blood. See People v Phillips (2022) 75 CA5th 643, 681–84 (identification of substance on clothing or fabric as blood). See §§2.3.

Skill Necessary to Be Expert

Qualifications Necessary to Be Expert. In a capital murder case, the trial court properly admitted evidence from a bite and tool mark expert. The expert had received training in dental school regarding the marks teeth and tools might make on human tissue and had made identifications in other cases. The defense argued there was minimal scientific value of bite and tool mark identification, but the supreme court held that the expert was not “clearly unqualified to serve as an expert” because the trial court determined that experience in bite and tool mark identification was an adequate way to become an expert when there is no formal training on tool mark analysis that exists. See People v Parker (2022) 13 C5th 1. See §§3.1.

Information Relied on by Expert

Class Action Experts in Federal Court. The Ninth Circuit has made it clear that a Daubert challenge to expert testimony offered on class certification must be made during the class certification proceedings. In Olean Wholesale Grocery Coop., Inc. v Bumble Bee Foods LLC (9th Cir 2022) 31 F4th 651, 664–65, nn. 7, 9, the defendant forfeited the ability to argue that a statistical analysis of the class members’ alleged injuries offered by plaintiffs’ expert was inadmissible. See §4.49D.

Procedure under Daubert. In Elosu v Middlefork Ranch (9th Cir 2022) 26 F4th 1017, 124–28, the district court exceeded its gatekeeping role by examining and rejecting soundness of fire investigator’s hypothesis for the cause of a fire. See §4.58.

Kelly Test Applies Only to New Scientific Techniques. In Bader v Johnson & Johnson (2022) 86 CA5th 1094, an expert offered the novel theory that fibrous talc could cause mesothelioma, a form of cancer most often associated with asbestos. In allowing the opinions, the court of appeal noted that, to the extent the defendant contended that the expert’s opinion should have been excluded because it was a novel theory not generally accepted within the relevant scientific community, the defendant should have challenged the testimony under Kelly, and not only Sargon. See §§4.73.

Expert’s Opinion: Certainty Required, Testimony on Ultimate Issue, Effect

Testimony on Legal Conclusions Not Permissible. The question of whether something constitutes a dramatic, literary, musical, political, or artistic work was not an appropriate subject of expert testimony. See City of Rocklin v Legacy Family Adventures-Rocklin, LLC (2022) 86 CA5th 713, 727–28. See §5.3.

When Expert Testimony Can Be Rejected as Matter of Law. Uncontradicted expert opinion on mental condition was rejected by the court in People v Cheatham (2022) CA5th 782. In a proceeding to extend a defendant’s commitment to a state hospital, psychiatric experts testified without contradiction that the defendant’s mental disorder would cause him serious difficulty in controlling dangerous behavior. The court held, however, that although a single psychiatric opinion could constitute substantial evidence, “that does not mean an unsupported psychiatric opinion will suffice” because “expert medical opinion evidence that is based on a ‘guess, surmise or conjecture, rather than relevant, probative facts, cannot constitute substantial evidence.’” See §5.8.

Inspections, Tests, Experiments, and Demonstrative Evidence

Requirements. In a recent criminal case, a courtroom demonstration by a wound ballistics expert using a mannequin was deemed to satisfy the “substantially similar” requirement when offered to show possible position and location of the murder weapon. See People v Johnson (2022) 12 C5th 544, 623–24. See §9.13.

Discovering Identity and Noticing Depositions of Opposing Experts

CCP §998 Offers in General. To support an award of expert witness fees, offers that require execution of settlement and release agreement but fail to attach the agreement or provide detail on its terms are invalid. See K.M. v Grossmont Union High Sch. Dist. (2022) 84 CA5th 717, 773–76. See §10.46A.

Identifying Expert Trial Witnesses. In a recent federal case, the court held that nonretained employee experts were permitted, without disclosure, to offer lay testimony based on personal knowledge. In Vincent, the 10th Circuit held that percipient witnesses who are also experts and who possess information that was not acquired in preparation for trial are not subject to the discovery available under Fed R Civ P 26(b)(4). See Vincent v Nelson (10th Cir 2023) 51 F4th 1200, 1214–15. See §10.49, 10.55, 10.56.

Cross-Examination of Opposing Experts at Trial

Witness Who Works for Corporate Party. For a recent case on disqualification of experts who had previously been paid consultants to a corporate party, see People v Johnson & Johnson (2022) 77 CA5th 295, 335. See §15.17.

About the Authors

RAOUL D. KENNEDY is retired from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he handled complex civil matters at both the trial and appellate levels. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is a past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. In 2005, Mr. Kennedy was selected as the Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California and inducted into the State Bar Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.

JAMES C. MARTIN, of the Los Angeles and Pittsburgh offices of Reed Smith LLP, is a partner in the firm’s appellate department, a fellow and former president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and a member and past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He specializes in handling civil appeals and writs and consults regularly with trial lawyers on issues related to expert witnesses in all types of individual and multi-party actions. He is a frequent author and consultant for Continuing Education of the Bar on a variety of subjects involving civil litigation, including the first and second editions of California’s Expert Witness Guide and its annual supplements. He is a graduate of Colorado College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the University of Santa Clara Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review.

About the 2023 Update Authors

James C. Martin. See the About the Authors section for full biographical information.

Steven J. Boranian is a partner with Reed Smith LLP, San Francisco, and a litigator with a practice focus on product liability litigation, commercial disputes, and consumer class actions. With a particular emphasis on the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, Mr. Boranian has represented many of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical products. His experience includes all aspects of complex litigation and extensive work with expert witnesses—from discovery issues and depositions to motion practice and trial.

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