The Louisiana Court in the case of THE ESTATE OF LOUIS D. HAEUSER, v. WESTCHESTER SURPLUS LINES INSURANCE COMPANY, Civil Action No. 13-5631 United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana (March 10, 2015) dealt with a bad faith insurance claim as a result of Hurricane Isaac.
The Court denied an attempt to halt discovery of a special relationship between the expert witness and counsel.
The Court stated:
The Court finds that the case law supports plaintiffs’ arguments. Evidence of a special relationship between an expert witness and legal counsel is relevant to demonstrate the possible bias of the expert witness, and discovery that is reasonably calculated to lead to such evidence should be permitted. See Butler v. Rigsby, No. Civ. A. 96-2453, 1998 WL 164857, *2 (E.D. La. Apr. 7, 1998) (and cases cited therein); Wacker v. Gehl Co., 157 F.R.D. 58, 59 (W.D. Mo. 1994) (denying discovery request but explaining that it would be permitted if party had presented factual information suggesting “a special relationship” or “any other theory of bias or lack of objectivity”); cf. Trower v. Jones, 520 N.E.2d 297, 301-02 (Ill. 1988) (allowing counsel to inquire on cross-examination as to frequency with which witness testified for plaintiffs). Similarly, an expert witness’ experiences in prior lawsuits is relevant to demonstrate possible biases. See First State Bank v. Deere & Co., Civ. A. No. 86-2308, 1991 WL 46375, at *7 (D. Kan. Mar. 15, 1991) (allowing inquiry into past experiences as expert witness was proper subject matter for questioning at deposition); Bottorff v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 130 F.R.D. 97, 98 (N.D. Ind. 1990) (holding that witness’ prior experience as consulting expert was relevant to both his qualifications and potential bias); Bockweg v. Anderson, 117 F.R.D. 563, 565-66 (M.D.N.C. 1987) (allowing expert witnesses to be questioned concerning their involvement, past or present, in other malpractice actions).
The Court finds that defendant has met this burden here, especially given the fast approaching trial deadline. Accordingly, the Court shall limit this expert discovery to all cases in which the designated expert testified as an expert at trial or at a deposition in the previous four years. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B)(v).