Roof Damage And Experts

The naming of experts in a roof or hail damage case is the same as naming an expert in other cases.  The Eastern District, Sherman Division, recently had an opinion discussing experts.  It is styled, Yoram Avneri v. Hartford Fire Insurance Company.

The Scheduling Order in this case set a deadline of April 5, 2017, for Avneri to name and disclose expert testimony in this roof damage case.  Avneri named Julie Needham as an expert timely, but did not include Needham’s opinions, facts, exhibits, a list of Needham’s publications, or past cases.

Hartford filed a Motion to Exclude Testimony of Julie Needham, claiming the disclosure did not satisfy the requirements under Rule 26(a)(2)(B) of the Federal rules of Civil Procedure.  Averni argued its disclosure met the requirements because Needham was a non-retained expert and that Hartford was not prejudiced by the non-disclosure because Needham had been named as a witness months earlier.

In discussing the case, the Court stated that an expert report must be detailed and complete to avoid the disclosure of sketchy and vague expert information.  To eliminate unfair surprise, Rule 26(a)(2)(B) requires that a disclosure of retained expert witnesses is accompanied with a report that is written and prepared by the witness.  This 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.

The requirements for non-retained witnesses are more lenient.  It requires, according to Rule 26(a)(C)(i)-(ii), a statement of the subject matter and a summary of the expected facts and opinions on which the expert will testify.  And Rule 26(e)(2) requires any necessary supplementation to an expert report must be disclosed according to the deadlines set out in the Scheduling Order.  According to Rule 37(c)(1), if a party fails to identify a witness or provide information, “the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”

In the end, this Court Ordered that Needham produce a report that complies with Rule 26(a)(2)(B) within 30 days.


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