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31 Jurimetrics J. 375 (1990-1991)
An Empirical Examination of the Use of Expert Witnesses in American Courts

handle is hein.journals/juraba31 and id is 387 raw text is: IARTCE

AN EMPIRICAL EXAMINATION OF THE
USE OF EXPERT WITNESSES IN
AMERICAN COURTS
Anthony Champagne,* Daniel Shuman,**
and Elizabeth Whitaker***
ABSTRACT
This article reports the results ofa pilot study of the use of expert witnesses in civil cases
in Dallas, Texas. The respondents in this questionnaire study were jurors, judges, lawyers,
and experts participating in civil trials in which expert witnesses testified. The results of this
study indicate that expert battles occur less frequently than has been suggested. Although
expert witnesses testified in over half of the cases, most of the cases involved experts pre-
sented by only one side. The study reveals, however, that when experts are presented in an
adversarial contet there are substantial problems in the way lawyers recruit and coach ex-
perts, and experts face conflicting demands both to maintain high integrity and to present
favorable opinions on complex matters in a clear and unqualified manner.
I. INTRODUCTION
Expert witnesses' occupy a unique role in the American judicial system.
The existence of fact witnesses is fixed at the time of the litigated event by hap-
*Professor of Government and Politics, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas.
**Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
***Partner, Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, Dallas, Texas.
The authors would like to thank William Bridge, Kenneth Graham, Jr., Elizabeth Loftus, and Eliza-
beth Thornburg for their comments on an earlier draft. In addition, the authors would like to express their
appreciation to the M.D. Anderson Research Fund for its support in carrying out this research.
'Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an
expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto
in the form of an opinion or otherwise.

SUMMER 1991

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