Court Appointed Experts and Special Masters

Litigation Topics and News Relative to Accident Reconstruction
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Court Appointed Experts and Special Masters

Post by brian »

Saw this on another news thread, thought it might be of interest. I have heard of the use of Special Masters being used in Europe (or the court hiring two and only a third if the two do not agree). This could help weed out the irresponsible and fraudulent advocate "experts" and help insure that the focus on court cases remain on the facts and scientific interpretation of those facts.
Authority for special masters: Practically all state laws provide for the use of special masters and/or court-appointed experts. For example, see California Civil Procedure Code sections 638 and 639. In federal matters, the court may appoint a special master to "address pretrial and post-trial matters that cannot be addressed effectively and timely by an available district judge or magistrate judge of the district." See FRCP 53(a)(1)(C).

The Federal Judicial Center's Manual for Complex Litigation, Fourth Edition indicates:
11.51 Court-Appointed Experts and Technical Advisors
"Court-appointed experts serve a number of purposes: to advise the judge on technical issues, to provide the jury with background information to aid comprehension, or to offer a neutral opinion on disputed technical issues.261 The court has broad discretion to appoint such an expert, sua sponte or on request of the parties, but should consider whether there are adequate alternatives to such an appointment, such as directing the parties to clarify, simplify, and narrow the differences between them.262"
" appropriate cases, appointment of a neutral expert, even at an advanced stage of the proceedings, can be beneficial:
• court-appointed experts can have “a great tranquilizing effect”265 on the parties’ experts, reducing adversariness and potentially clarifying and narrowing disputed issues;
• they can help the court and jury comprehend the issues and the evidence;
• they can suggest acceptable procedures and ground rules for preserving and exchanging digital-format materials relevant to the case, and assist in settling disputes regarding electronic evidence; and
• they may facilitate settlement or at least stipulations

Also see Court-Appointed Special Masters: Dispute-Resolvers?
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