New Mexico Rules Regarding Expert Witness Depositions and Interrogatories
Under Rule 1-026(B)(6)(b) of the New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may depose opposing experts whose opinions may be presented at trial. Rule 1-030(D)(2) limits depositions to one seven-hour day, provided that court must allow additional time if needed to fairly examine the deponent. Experts generally are not subject to interrogatories in New Mexico, as they are only served on the parties. However, parties may obtain discovery of information related to experts through interrogatories, so expert participation in the completion of such interrogatories may be helpful.
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New Mexico Expert Witness Reports and Disclosures Rules
The extent of required disclosures for experts in New Mexico depends on whether the expert will testify at trial or, instead, was retained only for consulting purposes and will not testify. For the latter group of experts, Rule 1-026(B)(6)(c) provides that discovery may only be had on 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. The exceptional circumstances standard is presents a high hurdle for a party seeking discovery of a consulting expert, and such a claim appears to be rarely raised in the New Mexico courts.
For experts who will testify at trial, Rule 1-026(B)(6)(c) provides that through interrogatories and requests for production, a party may require its opponent to disclose such experts’ identities, the subject matter on which each will testify, the facts and opinions to which each expert will testify, and the grounds for those opinions. A party may also discover these experts’ qualifications, including a list of all publications authored by each expert in the preceding ten years, and a list of all other cases in which the expert has testified in the preceding four years. Lastly, a party may discover the name and address of the custodian of any reports prepared by the testifying expert in relation to the case at hand.
Rules Regarding Lawyer-Expert Communications, Draft Expert Witness Reports, Expert Witness Notes, Etc. in New Mexico
Although Rule 1-026(B)(5) of the New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure provides protection from discovery for attorney work product, neither the New Mexico Rules nor cases offer any guidance on whether this protection survives and attorney’s communication of otherwise protected work product to a testifying expert.