Evidence: Expert Testimony: Generally


Russell v. Watkins & Shepard [06/24/09] 2009 MT 217 In Bain v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2004 MTWCC 45 (aff’d 2005 MT 299N), the Workers’ Compensation Court set forth a non-exhaustive list of 10 factors that it generally considers when evaluating the causation issue based on conflicting or complicated medical testimony and evidence. There is no indication, either in Bain or any other reported decisions of the Montana Supreme Court, that strict compliance with these 10 factors is a precondition to the admissibility of medical testimony or evidence.


Hartung v. Montana State Fund [03/15/16] 2016 MTWCC 3 While medical evidence demonstrated that the claimant had a learning disability and extremely low cognitive ability, the reports were equivocal as to whether he had a mere mental weakness, or was incapable of understanding the force and effect of his settlement agreement.  Without an expert’s testimony that the claimant was incapable of understanding the settlement agreement, the Court is not persuaded that he was unable to understand it.

Uffalussy v. St. Patrick Hospital [11/06/07] 2007 MTWCC 45 Where Petitioner’s expert disclosure in accordance with the Scheduling Order was broad, nothing prevented Respondent from contacting Petitioner to request additional information and to cure any perceived inadequacies. Therefore, Respondent’s objection to the expert opinion proffered at trial is overruled.
Ryckman v. ASARCO, Inc. [8/24/05] 2005 MTWCC 52 The opinion of an expert is not conclusive. A court must determine what if any weight the opinion is to be given. Thus, a vocational expert’s perfunctory opinion stating that, based on his labor market analysis, the claimant did not suffer a wage loss, does not entitle an insurer or self-insured to summary judgment where the claimant in fact is earning less than his time-of-injury wage. Since the claimant’s actual earnings provide one basis for determining wage loss, the claimant need not tender an opposing expert opinion to avoid summary judgment.
LaFournaise v. State Fund [8/14/01] 2001 MTWCC 42 Where expert physicians are split as to their opinions on a matter material to resolution of a dispute, submission of their written reports and records is an unsatisfactory basis for resolving the dispute, at least where the physicians are equally qualified on paper and their reports do not provide supporting citation or authority which would indicate which physician is more likely correct. The physicians should be deposed or should be called to testify.
State Fund. v. Willard E.Vannett [12/2/99] 1999 MTWCC 77 Where particular physician's conflict of interest had poisoned the handling of the entire occupational disease medical review process, Court declined to reconsider ruling affirming hearing officer's decision that claimant suffered from an occupational disease.
State Fund v. Willard E. Vannett [10/29/99] 1999 MTWCC 66 WCC refused to consider evidence from physician who was hired by State Fund to provide advice during evaluation of whether to challenge one physician's opinion that claimant suffered from OD, then accepted appointment to OD panel on same case.