Business Expert Witnesses & Michigan Rule of Evidence

In The Michigan Law Blog, Michael J. Hamblin writes:
Required Qualifications for Expert Witnesses in Michigan Business Litigation Cases

In many business litigation cases, winning depends on the testimony of an expert witness who supports a party’s theory of the case or damage calculations. When testifying, the expert gives his or her opinion on one or more topics at issue in the case.

Michigan Rule of Evidence 702 lays out the requirements for a witness to be qualified as an “expert” witness in Michigan court cases. That rule states that such a witness must demonstrate expert “knowledge, skill experience, training, or education”. But, that’s not the end of the inquiry.

Michigan Rule of Evidence 702 further provides that the opinion testimony of an expert witness will be admitted only if “(1) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles or methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.”

In other words, it’s not enough for an expert witness to rest his or her opinion on legitimate data. Rather, it must be shown that the expert’s opinion is based on legitimate data and expresses conclusions that are themselves based on reliable principles and methods.

Expert witnesses are an important part of many business litigation cases and have a significant responsibility. They must be chosen with care and properly qualified in order to support a party’s case. If properly chosen and qualified, an expert witness can provide a basis for a court to adopt a particular party’s case theory or damages calculation, which will then lead to a successful conclusion of that party’s case.