The (Formerly) Friendly Expert Witness

Can a witness be compelled to give expert testimony?  Hopefully that is a question that few will ever need to answer, but it arose in Morrison v. Quest Diagnostics Inc. Relevant to discovery, the plaintiff attempted to disclose an expert witness.  The defendant wanted to depose the expert and was instructed to contact the expert directly.

Counsel for Quest Diagnostics called Dr. Soloway who informed counsel that: (1) he was not Morrison’s retained expert witness; (2) he had repeatedly informed Ms. Morrison that he was not her expert witness; (3) he was unwilling to be her expert witness; (4) he was no longer accepting calls from Ms. Morrison; and (5) he would not appear for deposition as Morrison’s expert witness.[1]

Plaintiff seemingly did not deny this, but instead asked the court “to compel the attendance of Dr. Henry Soloway at trial….”[2]  The court noted its authority under Rule 45 to compel attendance from witnesses.  “However, the court has no authority to compel a witness to serve as an involuntary expert witness for a party, or to provide uncompensated expert opinions.”[3]

[1] 315 F.R.D. 351, 353 (D. Nev. 2016).
[2] Id. at 354.
[3] Id. at 357.