Yesterday afternoon, Jean Niven was presenting an in-house Merlin Law Group continuing legal education seminar about expert witnesses and the exacting standards for their allowance to testify in federal court. During the presentation, I thought about how a lost insurance coverage case1 could have ended differently if the policyholder’s expert witnesses had been allowed to testify about the damages. Jean is our firm’s expert witness authority. She works with our clients’ expert witnesses to make sure they are able to testify.
Continue Reading Insurance Coverage Cases Can Be Won or Lost Based on Expert Witnesses and The Preparation of Their Reports and Testimony

This blog post will describe the difference between pre-trial case dispositive motions and motions that impact the admissibility of evidence at trial. I recounted in a previous post that (1) motions to dismiss and (2) motions for summary judgment are case dispositive motions. That means that if either party ultimately wins the motion, the claim or a portion of the claim is definitively won by the moving party unless the court grants leave to fix the identified issue. Motions in limine and Daubert motions, however, concern what evidence is admissible at trial.
Continue Reading Pretrial Motion Practice in Federal Court

Missouri has adopted a new standard for expert witness testimony. The old standard was based upon a statute, while the new standard follows the Daubert1 standard. In Daubert, the United States Supreme Court held that the enactment of the Federal Rules of Evidence overturned the Frye2 standard which had been in place since 1923. Frye held that evidence could be admitted in court only if “the thing from which the deduction is made” is “sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs.” Thirty-nine other states and the federal government follow Daubert to determine whether expert witnesses may testify in court.
Continue Reading Missouri’s New Expert Witness Standard

In most first-party property insurance disputes, experts are frequently required to provide opinions and testimony on the cost to repair a property. An insurance company will often seek to exclude an insured’s expert on the basis that the opinions are not reliable because the expert did not personally inspect the property.


Continue Reading Court Excludes Causation Expert Who Did Not Personally Inspect Property

In a time where expert reports are more the norm than the exception, it’s important to remember that a great expert report is only as good as the expert delivering it. Delivery here is being used in the sense of delivering a timely, well written report and verbally delivering a succinct explanation of the methodology used to reach the conclusions at a deposition.


Continue Reading Experts – They May Know What To Do and How To Do It – But Do They Know How To Deliver?

As promised yesterday in Wildfire and Smoke Claims – A Case Burning With Issues That Public Adjusters Should Study, today’s post will be the first study from the recent decision in Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds.1 The initial question is how long has the expert has been doing what he is asked to do. The fire in Falcon involved a September 2011 wildfire in Texas.


Continue Reading Vetting Fire and Smoke Experts – Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds Case Study

Wildfire cases are unique and have many evidentiary issues. Public adjusters have been making claims for damage by fire, heat, and especially smoke. State Farm and its able trial counsel successfully appear to be fighting back in Falcon v State Farm Lloyds.1


Continue Reading Wildfire and Smoke Claims – A Case Burning With Issues That Public Adjusters Should Study