Steven Babitsky, Esq.
Experienced expert witnesses can and do selectively strike back against opposing counsel during their cross-examination.
Here is how some expert witnesses described their experiences.
1. “Q: Doctor, when you take a medical history, are there specific techniques you use to get the
answer you want out of a patient?
A: I did not go to law school, counsel…(I was interrupted by laughter from the jury, and
saw no need to continue, but if I had I would have said: I have no training in the
techniques you are asking about.)
2. (I am being cross examined before an arbitrator by an attorney whose client is his former
Q: In fact, you really don’t know anything about my client’s employment history, do you
A: Actually, counsel, I have learned a lot about her employment history from this page in
the medical record. She worked for an attorney who fired her for non-performance.
That would be you, Sir.
3. (I am being questioned about wound healing and have referred to publications as the basis for my opinion).
Q: And Doctor, I assume those wound healing studies were done on cadavers, is that right?
A: (totally deadpan) No, council, you can’t study wound healing in cadavers. They are
dead and dead people don’t heal. (laughter from the jury)
4. (I am questioned in a thoracic spine fracture case by an attorney who has been trying to undermine my qualifications. She happens to be short, thin, and rather shrill. We are standing before a skeleton which she has placed before the jury, and she is demonstrating her client’s spine orthosis.)
Q: Doctor, you say you know about braces, so will you please put this on the skeleton the
way my client would have worn it?
A: (benevolently) Actually, counsel, this looks like it would be more your size, so why
don’t we… (counsel recoils, jury laughs, I proceed willingly to strap the brace on the
NOTE: The art for expert witnesses is knowing not only how to strike back but also when and when not to do so.