This case involves a motion by the defendant to “set a reasonable expert witness fee” for plaintiff’s applied statistics expert witness. Brunarski v. Miami University, No. 1:16-cv-311, 2017 WL 713691 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 23, 2017). The plaintiff’s expert is a Professor at the University of California who has attained his PhD in Earth Science and has additional degrees in Statistics. Id. The expert set his rate at $1,500 per hour, and the defendant argued that $500 per hour is a reasonable fee for said expert. Id. The court noted that determining an expert’s fee is not accomplished by simply setting it at the “prevailing market rate.” Id. Instead, the court stated that multiple factors should be considered, including: “(1) the witness’s area of expertise; (2) the education and training required for the opinion sought; (3) the nature, quality and complexity of the discovery responses provided; (4) the fee being charged to those who retained the expert; and (5) fees traditionally charged on related matters.” Id.
In this case, the plaintiffs argued that their expert was the best expert in his area of expertise, which is studying student/teacher evaluations and forming conclusions as to potential gender bias by educational employers, and thus the rate of $1,500 was appropriate. Id. The defendant rebutted with a national survey of non-medical expert fees that showed the average fee was $319 per hour. Id. The court then reasoned that the appropriate fee should be between what the defendant offered to pay ($500) and what the expert was requesting ($1,500). Id. Given this, the court found the reasonable rate for the plaintiff’s expert to be $750 per hour. Id.