Connecticut Rules Regarding Expert Witness Depositions and Interrogatories
Under Section 13-4(c)(1) of the Connecticut Practice Book, experts that a party expects to call a trial may be subject to deposition. The Connecticut rules do not impose a specific time limit on such depositions, but Section 13-27(e) provides that the court may increase or decrease the time allowed for deposition upon a showing of cause. Experts generally may not be subject to interrogatories in Connecticut, as they are only served on the parties. Additionally, as discussed in the following section, interrogatories play a lesser role in the expert discovery process in Connecticut than in other states, because the Connecticut rules require voluntary disclosure of expert information, rather than disclosure of such information in response to interrogatories.
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Connecticut Expert Witness Reports and Disclosures Rules
The extent of disclosures required for experts in Connecticut depends on whether the expert is expected to testify at trial or was retained only for consulting purposes. Under Section 13-4(f) of the Connecticut Practice Book, information regarding the latter group of experts is not discoverable absent a showing of exceptional circumstances under which it is impracticable for the party seeking discovery to obtain facts or opinions on the same subject by other means. This is a burdensome requirement to meet, but exceptional circumstances may be found when a consulting expert for one party inspected materials that are no longer available for inspection by an expert for the other party. See generally LaLonde v. Ford Motor Co., 1994 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3217 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1994).
For experts expected to testify at trial, on the other hand, a party must affirmatively provide a disclosure document to the court and the opposing party that identifies the experts’ names, addresses, and employers; the experts’ fields of expertise and subject matters on which they will testify; and the experts’ opinions to which they will testify and the bases for such opinions. Testifying experts are not required to submit reports in Connecticut. However, the required disclosures listed above may be made in a written report by the expert witness, which is simply referenced in the disclosure document and contemporaneously provided to the opposing party. Unlike the disclosure document, such a written report is not filed with the court.
Rules Regarding Lawyer-Expert Communications, Draft Expert Witness Reports, Expert Witness Notes, Etc. in Connecticut
Section 13-4(b)(3) of the Connecticut Practice Book provides that, upon request of the opponent, a party must produce all materials obtained, created, or relied upon by the expert in forming his or her opinions. Whether this provision requires disclosure of information or materials that would otherwise be protected work product because they were communicated to a testifying expert by the retaining attorney has not been ultimately settled by the Connecticut courts. The Connecticut Supreme Court has not taken up the issue and lower courts have gone both ways. However, the weight of the cases, as well as the express language of Section 13-4(b)(3), certainly suggests that the communication of otherwise protected work product from an attorney to an expert renders those materials discoverable. See generally Barbierri v. Pitney Bowes, Inc., 2014 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2627 (Conn. Super. Ct. 2014) (providing a detailed discussion of the various positions taken by federal and Connecticut courts on this issue, and concluding that Connecticut jurisprudence indicates that attorney-expert communications in preparation for expert testimony should be discoverable).