Using Expert Reports at Trial

Contrary to seemingly popular belief, expert reports themselves are not admissible evidence at trial.  I too often see pre-trial disclosures that list expert reports as proposed exhibits at trial.  That leads to the same objection and response nearly every time.  “Defendants argue that the report of any expert is not admissible as evidence at trial because they are hearsay. Plaintiffs argue that any expert report should be treated equally between the parties.  The Court views physical expert reports themselves as hearsay.”[1]  Instead, it is the expert’s testimony that is admissible.

Having said this, I fully recognize that in cases with values that cannot justify the expense of live expert testimony, the parties may stipulate to rely upon expert reports.  This is a typical practice in the Court Annexed Arbitration Program that handles most civil cases where less than $50,000 is disputed.  NAR 11(A) states the arbitrator “must make every effort to ensure that the discovery, if any, is neither costly nor burdensome.”  Consistent with that, most accept expert reports rather than requiring live testimony.

[1] Wright v. Watkins & Shepard Trucking, Inc., No. 2:11-cv-01575, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6530 (D. Nev. Jan. 19, 2016).