X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Improper use of experts in product liability cases is all too familiar. The proper use of an expert’s specialized knowledge or expertise is to assist the trier of fact to determine a fact at issue. Some lawyers, however, use experts merely as sounding boards to highlight key facts and argue conclusory inferences in support of a party’s case. These “experts” are typically offered as “historians” and arbiters of “ethical” conduct.

A recent decision by Judge Lewis E. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York in the Rezulin multi-district litigation slammed the door on the practice of “engag[ing] … ‘expert’ witnesses whose intended role is more to argue the client’s cause from the witness stand than to bring to the fact-finder specialized knowledge or expertise that would be helpful in resolving the issues of fact presented by the lawsuit.” In re Rezulin Prod. Liab. Litig., 309 F. Supp. 2d 531, 538 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (“Rezulin”). These so-called experts “lend their credentials and reputations to the party who calls them, without bringing much, if any, relevant knowledge to bear on the facts actually at issue.” Id. Courts are becoming increasingly sensitive to this problem. For example, in Summers v. A.L. Gilbert Co., 69 Cal. App. 4th 1155, 1185 (1999), the California Court of Appeal found that “[r]eading [plaintiffs' expert]‘s testimony in its entirety, we conclude that he was advocating, not testifying. In essence, cloaked with the impressive mantle of ‘expert,’ [plaintiffs' expert] made plaintiffs’ closing argument from the witness stand.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.