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Expert Evidence

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In 1998, the Federal Judicial Center surveyed federal judges about their experiences with expert testimony in civil cases. Judges answered specific questions about their most recent relevant civil trial, as well as questions drawing on their overall experience with expert testimony in civil cases. The Center conducted a similar survey of judges in 1991, shortly before the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Preliminary analysis of the aggregated data has focused on (1) comparing judges' experiences with expert testimony before and after Daubert and (2) exploring the current concerns of judges regarding expert testimony in civil cases. Additional data have since been collected from attorneys in the trials described in the 1998 survey. Preliminary findings include the following:

 Experts testified most frequently in tort cases.

 Medical and mental health experts were the most common broad category of testifying experts, although economists were the single most frequent specific type of expert. Experts from scientific specialties testified in only a small proportion of cases.

Judges were more likely to scrutinize expert testimony before trial and less likely to admit expert testimony in 1998 than in 1991. Attorneys report filing motions in limine, challenging the admissibility of expert testimony, more frequently after Daubert.

 The two most common problems cited by judges were experts who were not objective and the excessive expense of expert testimony.

 In general, judges' assessments of problems with expert testimony did not differ greatly from 1991 to 1998.

Also see the 2002 expanded version of this report Judge and Attorney Experiences, Practices, and Concerns Regarding Expert Testimony in Federal Civil Trials.

In Print: Available for Distribution
In Print: Available for Distribution

A report on the Center's study of the vaccine injury program. The report examines why the program was created, its implementation, the filing and termination rates over its course, and participants' views of the program. The authors also discuss whether the program structure would be appropriate in other types of cases.

Available Online Only

Letter to Professor Daniel J. Capra, Reporter, Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence.

Available Online Only

Offers an analytical framework for judges considering disputes over qualifications of experts and admissibility of scientific evidence.

Available Online Only

Offers suggestions for effective management of expert testimony involving scientific issues.

Archival Copy on File

A collection of decisions on procedural problems arising in criminal trials, from material originally presented at Center seminars for newly appointed district judges. Areas covered include jury-related problems, co-conspirator statements, recalcitrant witnesses, the Fifth Amendment, reception of expert testimony, and mistrial.

Superseded by Manual on Recurring Problems in Criminal Trials, Third Edition (1990).

Archival Copy on File

A collection of decisions on procedural problems arising in criminal trials, from material originally presented at Center seminars for newly appointed district judges. Areas covered include jury-related problems, co-conspirator statements, recalcitrant witnesses, the Fifth Amendment, reception of expert testimony, and mistrial.

Superseded by Manual on Recurring Problems in Criminal Trials, Second Edition (1985).

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