Title 231—RULES OF
PART I. GENERAL
[ 231 PA. CODE CH. 4000 ]
Proposed Amendment of Rule 4003.5 Governing Discovery of Expert Testimony; Proposed Recommendation No. 248
[40 Pa.B. 7334]
[Saturday, December 25, 2010]
The Civil Procedural Rules Committee proposes that Rule of Civil Procedure 4003.5 governing discovery of expert testimony be amended as set forth herein. The proposed recommendation is being submitted to the bench and bar for comments and suggestions prior to its submission to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
All communications in reference to the proposed recommendation should be sent no later than February 18, 2011 to:
Karla M. Shultz
Civil Procedural Rules Committee
601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 6200
P. O. Box 62635
Harrisburg PA 17106-2635
TITLE 231. RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
PART I. GENERAL
CHAPTER 4000. DEPOSITIONS AND DISCOVERY
Rule 4003.5. Discovery of Expert Testimony. Trial Preparation Material.
(a) Discovery of facts known and opinions held by an expert, otherwise discoverable under the provisions of Rule 4003.1 and acquired or developed in anticipation of litigation or for trial, may be obtained as follows:
(1) A party may through interrogatories require
[(a)] (A) any other party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an expert witness at trial and to state the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify and
[(b)] (B) subject to the provisions of subdivision (a)(4), the other party to have each expert so identified state the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. The party answering the interrogatories may file as his or her answer a report of the expert or have the interrogatories answered by the expert. The answer or separate report shall be signed by the expert.
(2) Upon cause shown, the court may order further discovery by other means, subject to [such restrictions as to scope and such provisions concerning fees and expenses as the court may deem appropriate] (1) the provisions addressing scope, and fees and expenses as the court may deem appropriate and (2) the provisions of subdivision (a)(4) of this rule.
(3) A party may not discover facts known or opinions held by an expert who has been retained or specially employed by another party in anticipation of litigation or preparation for trial and who is not expected to be called as a witness at trial, except a medical expert as provided in Rule 4010(b) or except on order of court as to any other expert upon a showing of exceptional circumstances under which it is impracticable for the party seeking discovery to obtain facts or opinions on the same subject by other means, subject to such restrictions as to scope and such provisions concerning fees and expenses as the court may deem appropriate.
Official Note: For additional provisions governing the production of expert reports in medical professional liability actions, see Rule 1042.26 et seq. Nothing in Rule 1042.26 et seq. precludes the entry of a court order under this rule.
(4) A party may not discover the communications between another party's attorney and any expert who is to be identified pursuant to subdivision (a)(1)(A) regardless of the form of the communications.
* * * * *
The Civil Procedural Rules Committee is proposing the amendment of Rule 4003.5 governing the discovery of expert testimony. Recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have prohibited the discovery of communications between an attorney and his or her expert witness unless those communications (1) relate to compensation for the expert's study or testimony, (2) identify facts or data that the party's attorney provided and that the expert considered in forming the opinions to be expressed, or (3) identify assumptions that the party's attorney provided and that the expert relied on in forming the opinions to be expressed. See FRCP 26(b)(4)(C), effective December 31, 2010.
Current practice in Pennsylvania has not been to seek discovery of communications between the attorney and his or her expert. The proposed amendment to Rule 4003.5 follows the federal rule in explicitly prohibiting the discovery of such communications. However, it does not include the exceptions in the federal rule to those communications because of the differences between the federal rules and the Pennsylvania rules governing the scope of discovery of expert testimony.
The federal rules of civil procedure permit an expert to be deposed after the expert report has been filed. The exceptions enumerated above simply describe some of the matters that may be covered in a deposition. However, in the absence of cause shown, the Pennsylvania rules of civil procedure do not permit an expert to be deposed. Thus, the exceptions within the federal rule are inconsistent with the restrictions of the Pennsylvania rules of civil procedure governing discovery of expert witnesses.
In Pennsylvania, questions regarding the compensation of the expert have traditionally been addressed at trial; there is no indication that this procedure is not working well.
In addition, the facts or data provided by the attorney that the expert considered, as well as the assumptions provided by the attorney that the expert relied on in forming his or her opinion, are covered by Rule 4003.5(a)(1)(b), which requires the expert to ''state the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and summary of the ground for each opinion.'' If facts or data which the expert considered were provided by counsel or if the expert relied on assumptions provided by counsel, they must be included in the expert report. See Rule 4003.5(c) which provides that the expert's direct testimony at trial may not be inconsistent with or go beyond the fair scope of his or her testimony set forth in the report. If the expert report is unclear as to the facts upon which the expert relied, upon cause shown, the court may order further discovery including the filing of a supplemental expert report. See Rule 4003.5(a)(2).
By the Civil Procedural Rules Committee
ROBERT C. DANIELS,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-2451. Filed for public inspection December 23, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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