Minnesota Rules Regarding Expert Witness Depositions and Interrogatories
Under the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, experts are generally not subject to deposition, whether or not they are expected to testify at trial. Instead, the Rules provide for discovery of the opinions of experts through interrogatories and expert reports, as described in more detail below. The interrogatories are served on the parties, rather than the experts, but, as these interrogatories can require disclosures about experts, expert participation in responding to certain interrogatories may be beneficial. Further, although the Rules do not provide for the depositions of experts, it is common for the both parties and their experts to mutually agree to depositions of the experts. Minnesota Civil Practice § 15.07 (2015). Under Rule 30.04(b), depositions are generally limited to one seven-hour day, unless the parties agree to, or the court authorizes, different time constraints.
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Minnesota Expert Witness Reports and Disclosures Rules
The extent of disclosures required for experts in Minnesota depends on whether the expert is expected to be called at trial or was retained purely for consulting purposes. Information regarding the latter group of experts is discoverable only upon 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.
For an expert expected to be called at trial, on the other hand, through interrogatories a party can require its opponent to disclose the identity of such expert, the subject matter on which he or she is expected to testify, the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify, and a summary of the basis for these opinions. Additionally, 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, an 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.
Rules Regarding Lawyer-Expert Communications, Draft Expert Witness Reports, Expert Witness Notes, Etc. in Minnesota
Minnesota has codified the work product doctrine, protecting against the disclosure of attorney mental impressions and theories prepared in anticipation of litigation, in Rule 26.02(d). However, there has been very little court activity in Minnesota relating to how this work product provision applies to communications between the attorney and an expert or materials provided to the expert by the attorney that would otherwise be privileged. Perhaps this is in part because the Minnesota Rules were amended in July 2013.