Court-Appointed Neutral Economic Experts

J. Gregory Sidak


Complex civil litigation routinely includes expert economic testimony. However, it may be hard for a jury to determine at trial which expert economist is more credible, and it may be hard for the judge to determine at the Daubert hearing whether the methodology upon which a given expert economist relies is intellectually rigorous enough to produce results that constitute admissible testimony. One solution rarely employed is for the court to appoint its own neutral economic expert under Rule 706 of the Federal Rules of Evidence when a lawsuit contains a claim for damages that will require rigorous analysis of data. Based on my recent experience as Judge Richard Posner’s court-appointed economic expert on damages in patent infringement litigation, I explain how the wider use of Rule 706 would assist the judge and jury and would facilitate the prompt settlement of intellectual property, antitrust, securities, contract, business tort, and other complex disputes. The benefits to courts and litigants would surely exceed the costs.

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