Utah Rules Regarding Expert Witness Depositions and Interrogatories
Rule 26(a)(4)(A) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure requires parties to disclose certain information regarding expert witnesses who may testify at trial, as discussed in the following section. After these initial disclosures, the parties can obtain further discovery regarding such experts either by deposition or by a written report. Under Rule 26(a)(4)(D), in multiparty actions, there must be agreement amongst all parties opposing the expert on whether the further discovery will be in the form of a deposition or a report. If an expert is deposed, Rule 24(a)(4)(B) provides that the deposition must be four hours or less. Experts are not subject to interrogatories in Utah, because, as discussed in this section, the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure provide for expert discovery through prescribed initial disclosures and either depositions or written reports.
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Utah Expert Witness Reports and Disclosures Rules
As mentioned above, Rule 26(a)(4)(A) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure requires a party to, without waiting for a discovery request, make certain disclosures regarding experts who may testify at trial. The information that must be affirmatively disclosed is the expert’s name and qualifications, including a list of all publications written in the preceding ten years, and a list of any other cases in which the expert has testified in the preceding four years; a summary of the opinions to which the witness is expected to testify; all information that will be relied upon by the witness in forming those opinions; and the expert’s compensation. Following these disclosures, the opposing party can have further discovery by either deposition or written report. If an expert is required to submit a written report, it must be signed by the expert and include a complete statement of all opinions to which the expert will testify and the basis for those opinions. Rule 24(a)(4)(B) encourages experts to be thorough in writing these reports by prohibiting them from testifying in the party’s case in chief to anything not fairly disclosed in the report.
For experts who will not testify at trial, but were instead retained only for consulting purposes, generally may not be subject to discovery absent 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 difficult showing to make, and review of Utah cases indicates that a claim of exceptional circumstances is rarely raised in the Utah courts.
Rules Regarding Lawyer-Expert Communications, Draft Expert Witness Reports, Expert Witness Notes, Etc. in Utah
Rule 26(b)(7)(A) of the Utah Rules of Civil protects drafts of the expert reports discussed above from discovery, no matter the form in which the draft is recorded. Rule 26(b)(7)(B) prevents discovery of attorney-expert communications, no matter their form, unless the communication relates to the expert’s compensation, identifies information provided by the attorney and considered by the expert in forming his or her opinions, or identifies assumptions provided by the attorney on which the expert relied in forming his or her opinions.