On May 5, 2015, Console Mattiacci Law, LLC secured yet another employee victory in federal court. The firm challenged improper expert witness testimony in a case by an individual employee against a large employer. The defendant employer attempted to use an expert witness to give an opinion on whether the employer discriminated against the employee. The expert prepared a twenty-three page report, stating that the employee failed to prove that he experienced discrimination.
The judge, however, refused to accept the report or to allow the expert witness to testify in support of the employer’s case. The judge ruled that it is not permissible for an expert witness to opine on the discrimination issue. By allowing an expert to testify about whether or not an employee proved discrimination, the expert would be intruding on both the judge’s role and the jury’s role. The expert would be giving a legal opinion and providing the legal standard – the judge’s role – and coming to an ultimate conclusion on the issue after weighing the relevant evidence – the jury’s role.
The judge held that, in employment discrimination cases, the court will not allow experts to simply recite legal standards and reach legal conclusions that would be considerably beneficial to the party calling the witness. Agreeing with CLO attorneys, the judge determined that the defendant employer was not permitted to call its expert witness to testify in court – resulting in an impressive victory for CLO and its plaintiff employee client.