Basic Objections to Expert Testimony

Here are the most common objections to expert testimony that every lawyer should know and understand.

• The particular field is not a proper subject of expert testimony;
• The purported expert testimony is not relevant in that it will not make a fact of consequence to this lawsuit any more or less probable than it would be without the testimony;
• There is no adequate showing that the expert testimony is the product of reliable facts or data (or is the product of reliable principles and methods);
• The is no adequate showing that the witness has applied reliable principles and methods of the field of expertise to the facts of this case;
• The purported expert testimony is unfairly prejudicial and its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger that this unfair prejudice will unduly influence the trier of fact;
• There are insufficient underlying facts or data upon which the expert could legitimately base an opinion;
• The expert opinion based his opinion on inadmissible facts or data, e.g., inadmissible hearsay, that is not of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the particular field in forming opinions;
• Expert testimony concerning the otherwise inadmissible facts or data upon which the expert bases his opinion should not be allowed in evidence before the jury because the danger that the inadmissible facts or data will be used for a purpose other than explanation or support for the expert’s opinion outweighs their value as explanation and support.
• The purported expert is not qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education in the particular field of science, technical, or other specialized knowledge;
• There is insufficient proof that the technique employed by the expert qualifies as reliable scientific, technical or other specialized evidence; and
• The testimony will not assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.

Future posts will address each of these objections in more detail.

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