Cross-examination based on draft reports is an ‘uninformative exercise,’ says new guidance from DE Chancery

BVWireIssue #112-3
January 18, 2012

Just last week the Delaware Court of Chancery published a new set of practice guidelines to help lawyers and their experts. The non-binding guidelines “are not intended to be used as a sword to wound adversaries,” the court advises. “To the contrary, they are intended to reduce conflicts among counsel and parties over non-merits issues, and allow them to more efficiently and less contentiously handle their disputes in this court.” In a section devoted to expert reports, the court recommends that experts:

  • Do not build rebuttals into their reports;
  • Complete all of their analysis and exchange all of their reports before being deposed;
  • Present no new evidence at trial, “absent extraordinary circumstances.”

The court also prefers that parties “stipulate to limit expert written discovery to the final report and materials relied on or considered by the expert.” Although the court “understands the degree of involvement counsel typically has in preparing expert reports,” it says that “cross-examination based on changes in drafts is usually an uninformative exercise.” Finally, the court will typically require the parties to identify their expert witnesses and the topics of their testimony in a scheduling order, along with the timing for submitting expert reports. The complete 18-page guidelines are available here.

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