Discovery: Experts

Hawkins v. Harney, et al. [3/27/03] 2003 MT 58 In non-workers' compensation case, Montana Supreme Court held that trial judge abused discretion in finding inadequate supplemental disclosure of expert witness that identified expert by address, age, schooling, and employment, stated that the subject matter of his testimony would be the way in which the subject veterinary case was handled, identified the substance of facts and opinions to which expert was expected to testify, and addressed the grounds for his opinion as "standard veterinary teaching and practice." The disclosure was sufficient to prevent surprise and promote effective cross-examination.

Atchley v. Louisiana Pacific Corp. [3/9/15] 2015 MTWCC 3 Where Respondent was put on notice prior to deposing Petitioner’s expert that the expert relied on a USFS document that indicated that Respondent’s mill processed contaminated lumber, appropriate sanctions were warranted where Petitioner failed to produce the USFS document in response to Respondent’s request for production and after the Court ordered her to produce it, including: (1) the Court granting Respondent’s motion to extend the scheduling deadlines to allow it reasonable time to investigate the withheld document; (2) the Court allowing Respondent to supplement its exhibit list; (3) the Court considering and ruling on any pretrial motions regarding the withheld document; (4) the Court permitting the reconvening of Petitioner’s expert’s deposition in order to question him regarding the withheld document; (5) the Court requiring Petitioner to pay all expenses and Respondent’s reasonable costs incurred in reconvening the expert’s deposition; and (6) the Court vacating the current trial setting.

Clapham v. Twin City [10/16/12] 2012 MTWCC 34 Where Petitioner disclosed that his expert was expected to offer testimony consistent with her previously documented diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and causation opinions, the Court granted Respondent’s motion to exclude testimony at the expert’s second deposition in which she opined for the first time that Petitioner’s aggravation was permanent and not temporary.

Taylor v. Montana State Fund [05/23/12] 2012 MTWCC 17 Despite not receiving official notice that Respondent’s expert would testify about when Petitioner reached MMI, the expert’s IME opinion was provided before the expert disclosure exchange and Petitioner possessed copies of his supporting documentation.  The sanctions sought by Petitioner of limiting the expert’s testimony about MMI would be extreme and inappropriate under these circumstances and is denied.

Darrah v. ASARCO [5/8/01] 2001 MTWCC 17A Parties must comply with the Court's requirement in its scheduling orders for automatic disclosure of expert witnesses and the substance and bases of their opinions.
Darrah v. ASARCO [5/8/01] 2001 MTWCC 17A Where the general nature of the testimony of an expert witness should be obvious, and the party objecting to use of expert testimony (because disclosure regarding the opinions was insufficient) failed to move to compel further disclosure, the appropriate remedy is to vacate the trial and order adequate disclosure.
Kuntz v. Travelers Insurance Co, et al. [1/26/96] 1996 MTWCC 9 Expert witness disclosure was inadequate where it does not set forth the opinions of vocational expert or the factual basis for those opinions.

Mavity v. Champion International [04/13/95] 1995 MTWCC 27 In the context of ongoing disputes regarding the timeliness and adequacy of expert witness disclosure, respondent filed a motion to allow expert testimony. Where trial is set within two weeks, any issues regarding experts that remain at trial will be sorted out at that time. The parties are directed to list their experts in the pretrial order, along with any objection to opposing experts, supported with reasons.

Mavity v. Champion International [04/13/95] 1995 MTWCC 27 Trial counsel embroiled in expert witness dispute are admonished that the Court takes a dim view of gamesmanship in the discovery process. Attorneys are expected to make full and fair disclosure and to cooperate with each other. With the Court’s impatience with pretrial games well known, it is prepared to impose sanctions for abuses.