Insurance Lawsuits And Experts

Here is another case looking at experts in insurance cases.  The case is from the Eastern District, Sherman Division, and is styled, La Verdure & Associates v. Depositors Insurance Company.

Plaintiff, La Verdure filed suit against Depositors for alleged violations of the Texas Insurance Code, the DTPA, and breach of contract.  A Scheduling Order was entered into which set a deadline of March 24, 2017, for naming expert witnesses.

Plaintiff named its experts on April 7, 2017.  On May 19, Defendant filed its Motion to Strike or Limit Expert Testimony.  Plaintiff filed its Motion for Leave to Amend Designation of Expert Witnesses.

Federal Rule 26(a)(2)(B) says that expert witnesses must be disclosed and requires that if the witness is one retained or specially employed to provide expert testimony in the case then the disclosure must be accompanied by a written report and prepared by the witness.  The 5th Circuit has required that an expert report be detailed and complete, to avoid the disclosure or sketchy and vague expert information.  The report must include:

  1. a statement of all opinions the witness will express and the reasons for them;
  2. the facts considered in forming the opinions;
  3. exhibits that support them;
  4. the witness’s qualifications and list of publications the witness authored in the last ten years;
  5. a list of all other cases in which the witness was an expert for the last four years; and
  6. and a statement of compensation.

When an expert is properly disclosed, the expert is admissible if he meets the standard set out in Rules of Evidence, Rule 702.  This evidence must be able to assist the trier of fact in issue.  Courts are gatekeepers of expert testimony to make certain that an expert, whether basing testimony upon professional studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same rigor thta characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field.  The party offering the expert’s testimony has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:

  1. the expert is qualified;
  2. the testimony is relevant to an issue in the case; and
  3. the testimony is reliable.

A reading of the case will provide more particulars of the result in this case.  It’s relevance here is understanding what is needed of an expert who will be testifying in an insurance case.