In Ten Ways to Torpedo Your Expert, Dr. Joni Johnston, President and CEO of Work Relationships, shares strategy on how to avoid “torpedoing” your expert witness.
Strategy #1B: Avoid the expert who is biased in their presentation. Johnston describes two common pitfalls: 1) the use of treating clinicians and 2) the hiring of the one-sided testifier.
A treating clinician relies on self-reported information from his or her patient. That’s very different from someone whose mission is to find corroborating or contradictory evidence in the total breadth of available data. A treating clinician should only be a fact witness, basing his or her testimony solely on a report of what they did, thought, and documented during therapy.
Problems with the one-sided testifier are obvious. The expert who focuses exclusively on plaintiff or defense work is vulnerable to challenges for bias. Worse yet, such an expert may have become an advocate, whose agenda will be obvious to the jury.