Expert witness testimony is often used during court proceedings, but witnesses who testify during bankruptcy court follow different rules than those who are testifying in criminal or district court. The opposing legal team will often attempt to challenge the testimony of an expert witness during bankruptcy cases, and the expert is required to make a formal written report expressing their opinion.
How Expert Witnesses are Handled in Bankruptcy Court
There are three main ways in which court proceedings are different during bankruptcy court. These differences greatly impact the rules and procedures regarding expert witnesses. The most prominent differences include:
- Less formal litigation
- The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and expert disclosure rules do not exist in the same context as other courts
- Most bankruptcy hearings are bench trials and do not have a jury
- Expert witnesses are typically financial professionals
- Most witnesses need to provide a written report
Daubert Challenge Standards
It is very common for witnesses to be challenged in bankruptcy courts. Expert witnesses can be challenged on Daubert grounds, which means they can be challenged on whether the evidence they are providing is both reliable and relevant. In addition, experts are expected to have a consistent and reliable basis for formulating their opinion. When the expert’s evidence is deemed to be directly connected to the case and the information was formed reliably, the expert will pass the Daubert challenge. They will be allowed to proceed with their testimony. If there is a lack of association with the bankruptcy case at hand or there are inconsistencies in the testimony, then the witness may fail the Daubert challenge. They won’t be able to continue with their testimony. In other cases, an expert’s testimony will be limited but not fully excluded. These challenges may occur before the trial or up until the witness takes the stand.
Benefits and Disadvantages to Pursuing a Daubert Challenge
In many bankruptcy cases, the disadvantages of filing a Daubert motion against a witness typically outweigh the potential advantages. While this isn’t true in every circumstance, these challenges usually do not help either party achieve a favorable settlement. In every case, an experienced bankruptcy attorney will determine the risks and advantages associated with pursuing a Daubert challenge against a witness.
Contact a Cherry Hill Bankruptcy Attorney for a Consultation About Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey Today
If you are struggling with debt, you may need a fresh start financially. An experienced bankruptcy and debt relief attorney can help you explore your options and determine the best course of action for you, your family, and/or your business. The experienced New Jersey bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Joel R. Spivack understand the nuances of NJ and federal bankruptcy laws, so we can help you protect your interests. Call us anytime at 856-488-1200 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1820 Chapel Avenue West, Suite 195 Cherry Hill, NJ 08002.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.