Arkansas Rules Regarding Expert Witness Depositions and Interrogatories

Under Rule 26(b)(4)(A)(ii) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, any expert expected to testify at trial may be subject to deposition. There is no presumptive time limit for depositions in Arkansas like there is under the Federal Rules and in many other states. Rule 30(d)(2) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure provide only that the length of depositions may be limited by court order as long as sufficient time is afforded for a fair examination of the witness being deposed.

Under Rule 26(b)(4)(B), a party can discover the facts and opinions of experts hired in preparation for, but not expected to be used at, trial only upon a showing of exceptional circumstances such that it would be impractical for the party seeking discovery to acquire the information held by such experts through other means. This is a difficult standard for the party seeking discovery to overcome. For a rare example of a case in which the court has found exceptional circumstances, see Acker Constr., LLC v. Tran, 396 S.W.3d 279, 286 (Ark. Ct. App. 2012) (permitting discovery of a consulting witness in a case involving chicken house repairs when the attorney “had called at least ten different contractors that built chicken houses to give him an estimate of the cost of repairs and that they had all turned him down”).

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Arkansas Expert Witness Reports and Disclosures Rules

 Under Rule 26(b)(4)(A)(i) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, through interrogatories directed to the opposing party, a party is entitled to discovery of the identity of all experts the opponent expects to call at trial, the facts and opinions to which the experts will testify, and a summary of the basis for those opinions. Under Rule 26(e)(1), the parties must seasonably correct and supplement their responses to interrogatories upon discovery of new information or that the response was otherwise incomplete. The reporter’s notes to this rule make clear that this duty to amend applies to changes in the opinions of experts, whether stated in interrogatories or deposition. Additionally, under Rule 705 of the Arizona Rules of Evidence, experts can be required to disclose the facts and data underlying their opinions on cross-examination.

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

As discussed above, under Rule 26(b)(4)(B) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, the information held by experts retained only for consulting purposes is protected from discovery except upon a showing of exceptional circumstances. However, under Rule 26(b)(4)(A)(ii), experts expected to be called at trial may be deposed in the same in the same manner of any other witness.