Long Scheduled Trial Date Precludes Delay in Expert Discovery

In a recent opinion, Delaware district judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. reaffirmed the necessity of confirming expert witnesses’ availability for pretrial discovery and trial. In the underlying litigation, defendant sought to delay expert reports and depositions on the basis of unavailability. Under normal circumstances, the Court might be inclined to work around outside schedules. But here, only thirty days before a “long scheduled” and firm trial date, defendant argued for delay in producing expert reports and taking expert depositions. Given the timing of defendant’s request, the Court refused to accede:

“[T]he Court finds that the assertion that any expert witness is ‘unavailable’ to the parties in the thirty day period prior to a long scheduled trial is untenable and an issue for the witness’s proponent, not the pre-trial schedule.”

Nice Systems Inc. v. Witness Systems Inc., C.A. No. 06-311-JJF (D. Del. Dec. 14, 2007) (Farnan, J.) (order attached to claim construction opinion).

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