Do You Need an Expert to Spot Insanity?

The general rule is that you need an expert witness to testify when the subject is “sufficiently beyond common experience that the opinion of that expert would assist the trier of fact.” Evid C §801(a). When it comes to a person’s sanity, you don’t always need an expert. Continue reading

7 Questions to Answer Before Using Opinion Character Evidence

There are situations in which you may want to introduce opinion character evidence at trial. But before you use a character witness in a civil case, ask yourself the following questions. Continue reading

How to Get a Witness to Start with the Basis for Opinion

lawyer asking judge to voir dire adverse witness on basis for her opinionCan the adverse party require that a witness on direct examination testify to the basis of his or her opinion before stating that opinion? Short answer, no. But there still may be a way to do it. Continue reading

Deposing the Doctor: Why Do It and How Much Will It Cost?

ThinkstockPhotos-79085832In cases in which there are medical issues, you’ll need to decide whether to depose the treating physician. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you make this call. Continue reading

Surprise! Daubert Applies to California Expert Testimony!

surprise_101197884As James Beck of Reed Smith puts it, “California has long gone its merry, idiosyncratic way in the Daubert/Frye wars.” That’s why it was a big surprise when the California Supreme Court cut off this legal tangent and stated that California courts must apply the same Daubert standard as their federal counterparts when it comes to admitting opinion testimony not based on a new scientific technique. Continue reading