Examples of Successful Expert Witness Daubert Challenges

[SEAK is the expert witness training company. The following clip has been excerpted from SEAK’s course, How to Start, Build, and Run a Successful Expert Witness Practice. Thank you for watching.]

Okay. Just for a little bit of a survey, let’s look at some of the cases that they have summarized. And again, this is what a law clerk could do for you in your field in our A to Z book. So, what do we have here?

An engineer, an auto safety engineer, product liability, right, and the question here, “Would something have prevented the deaths of a driver and a child passenger?” It’s a causation opinion. Again, be careful with those. What did the court hold? “Not going to let you testify.” Why? The expert did not factor in the added strength of the rear guard with the vertical attachment and how that would enhance the injury. Underlying data only addressed the mechanics of the accident as it actually happened. The court noted that both experts relied on intuition rather than valid reasoning and reliable methodology, typical in the case example of the case you’re going to get.

Accident Reconstructionist Daubert Challenge. 
Excluded testimony because the methodology used was not testable, was not subject to peer review, had no known rate of error, and was generally not accepted within the scientific community. Are you the only guy doing this? Are other people doing this?

Here’s an easy one for the judge. Accident reconstructionist, not admissible. Why not? Because the accident reconstructionist couldn’t back up what he was saying really with science and math, which is what an accident reconstructionist typically does when they’re doing their job properly. The expert did not perform any calculations, did not use any mathematical formulas, and made no attempt to find out the information needed to determine if the vehicle hydroplaned, did not take any measurements of the accidents, they didn’t do their homework, and did not have the benefit of photographs of the accident scene, right.

So if you’re in the accident reconstructionist in this case, you shouldn’t give an opinion like that. The judge is not going to let you just go in there and say, “Well, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, so the car hydroplaned.” You need to be able to back it up with the science, with the math if you’re in a scientific, mathematical field like accident reconstruction. So I took a very good example here.

Agricultural Economist Daubert Challenge. 
I think I’ve only run into one of those in my career. So that’s somebody that could be full of BS. All right, anyhow. This person, number cruncher, right, was excluded because the modeling, they’re talking a lot about modeling now with the coronavirus and Fauci and Birx, was generally not used in the field to support causation. Again, is this something that only you are doing or is this something that you can point to, “My field has been doing it like this for a long time, this is generally accepted in the field?”

Allergist Daubert Challenge. 
What do we have here? Medical causation. Alleged that a carpet caused respiratory illness. Imagine it was a dirty carpet, I don’t know. Inadmissible because no scientific studies were presented, right. The methodology did not fit the conclusion, right. So basically saying, like, you have to have some evidence to back this up. We can’t just go by your qualifications. That’s the whole point of the Daubert case. This allergist might have been, that testified in this case, extremely well qualified. He didn’t present any scientific studies that would prove that would show that, “Hey, this carpet can cause respiratory illness.”

SEAK is the expert witness training company. What you have just seen has been excerpted from SEAK’s course, How to Start, Build, and Run a Successful Expert Witness Practice. Thank you for watching.