Iowa Rules Regarding Expert Witness Depositions and Interrogatories 

Under Rule 1.508(1)(a) of the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure, experts whose opinions will be presented at trial may be subject to deposition. The Iowa Rules do not impose any specific time limit on depositions, but Rule 1.701(3) provides that the court may increase or decrease the time allowed for a deposition on a showing of cause. Experts generally are not subject to interrogatories in Iowa as the Iowa Rules provide for expert discovery though depositions and requests for documents and tangible things, rather than through interrogatories.

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Iowa Expert Witness Reports and Disclosures Rules 

The extent of discovery to which an expert may be subject in Iowa depends on whether the expert will testify at trial or was retained for consulting purposes. Generally, experts who were retained only for consulting purposes and who will not testify at trial may not be subject to discovery 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. See Sullivan v. Chicago & Northwestern Transp. Co., 326 N.W.2d 320, 326 (Iowa 1982) (“[T]he exceptional circumstances standard is high and not often met.”). However, both Rules 1.508(1)(b) and 1.508(2) make clear that consulting experts may be subject to discovery without exceptional circumstances if materials prepared by the consulting expert form a basis, either in whole or in part, of the opinions of an expert who is expected to testify at trial.

On the other hand, as part of their initial disclosures, the parties must provide the identities of the experts they expect to call at trial. Additionally, under Iowa Rule 1.500(2)(b), experts who were retained or specially employed to provide expert testimony in the case or whose duties as the party’s employee regularly involve giving expert testimony must provide a written report. This report must contain a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the grounds for such opinions; the facts and data considered by the expert; any exhibits that the expert will use; the expert’s qualifications, including a list of publications penned in the last ten years; a list of all cases in which the witness has testified as an expert in the last four years; and a statement of the compensation to be paid to the expert. Experts who are required to submit a report may not be deposed until after they have provided the report. 

Rules Regarding Lawyer-Expert Communications, Draft Expert Witness Reports, Expert Witness Notes, Etc. in Iowa 

Unlike many states, the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure include specific provisions relating to draft reports and attorney-expert communications. Rule 1.508(1)(d) expressly protects drafts of the expert reports discussed in the preceding section, regardless of the form in which draft is recorded. Rule 1.508(1)(e) then expressly protects attorney-expert communications, except those that relate to the expert’s compensation, identify information that the attorney provided and the expert considered in forming his or opinions, or identify assumptions that the attorney provided and the expert relied upon in forming his or her opinions.