Falcon v. The Dallas Morning News Co.,Cause No. 8846 (Starr County, Texas), deposition of plaintiff’s expert, Joseph R. Goulden.

In another case, a plaintiffs’ expert tried to skate by with just her general opinion about defendants’ conduct without any supporting specifics:

Q. And today do you have any opinions about the extent to which the defendant…followed the professional rules of journalism in preparing the broadcast?
A. Without providing exact reasons yet as to why, my impression is that — and probably an opinion is that they did not to the full extent that they could have….
Q. Because there really are no rules of journalism, are there?
A. Unfortunately there aren’t….
Q. And today as we sit here you do not have any opinions that you’re comfortable in testifying about under oath about the editing of the broadcast; is that correct?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And today as we sit here you are not comfortable in testifying under oath about any opinions about the appropriateness of the tactics used by the defendant in preparing and editing the broadcast; is that correct?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And today you are not comfortable with respect to this broadcast…in testifying about any opinions about the manner and means in which professional journalists should prepare a broadcast?
A. Not in terms of this particular broadcast….
Q. And so you are not comfortable either in testifying today that the broadcast at issue was not prepared with reasonable care so as to avoid any false impressions to…ordinary viewers?
A. That’s correct.

Kastrin v. CBS Inc.,No. EP-96-CA-433-DB (W.D. Texas), deposition of plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. Marilyn Schultz, whom the trial court excluded even after she tried to supplement her deposition with a detailed affidavit.

ONE MISTAKE: ALLOWING IRRELEVANCE INTO TESTIMONY

Experts have also been erroneously allowed to include many factors irrelevant to actual malice in their testimony:

Q. We’ve mentioned various standards, truth understandably being at the highest point.
A. Right.
Q. And completeness and fairness and correction of errors and avoidance of conflict of interest, all of which are taught in journalism schools across the country.
A. Right.
Q. Can you take each one…beginning with the standard of truth, and apply it to the facts of this case?

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