• Plaintiff's Motion for Court Appointment of Expert Witness Denied for Failure to Establish that the Issues Presented Were so Complex as to Require an Expert
  • May 3, 2010 | Author: Marc Kirkland
  • Law Firm: Strasburger & Price, LLP - Frisco Office
  • Daniels v. Experian Info. Solutions Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25309 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 18, 2010)

    • Facts: Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, claimed that Defendants, CRAs, violated the FCRA by failing to truncate her social security number which appears in her Department of Education student loan account numbers. Plaintiff subsequently filed two discovery motions. In her first motion titled “Motion for Clarification of Number of Interrogatories,” Plaintiff sought leave to propound more than 25 interrogatories to two of the Defendants because she had two claims pending against them. In the second motion titled “Motion for Court Appointment of an Expert Witness,” Plaintiff requested that the Court appoint an expert pursuant to Fed. R. Evid. 706. The Court denied both motions.
    • Interrogatories.  Courts have generally held that parties must exhaust the discovery available under the Federal Rules before seeking additional discovery. Here, Plaintiff did not state that she had exhausted her available discovery and instead appeared to be seeking permission to propound additional discovery before even serving the Defendants with the 25 interrogatories permitted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 33.   Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion was denied.
    • Interrogatories. The Court also determined that if Plaintiff had exhausted her 25 interrogatories her motion would have failed. In order to allow additional discovery, courts generally require litigants to make “particularized showings” before allowing a party to serve additional discovery.   The Court found that Plaintiff’s explanation, that she had two claims against the Defendants,  was insufficient to entitle her to exceed the discovery already provided for in the Federal Rules. 
    • Experts. Rule 706 provides that the “court may on its own motion or on the motion of any party enter an order to show cause why an expert witness should not be appointed, and may request the parties to submit nominations. The court may appoint any expert witnesses agreed upon by the parties, and may appoint expert witnesses of its own selection¿.”
    • Experts. Courts have been hesitant to find any kind of affirmative obligation to exercise their power under Rule 706 to appoint experts. Courts have tended to limit the appointment of experts to cases where the evidence or testimony at issue is scientifically or technically complex. The Court determined that the issues presented in the instant suit were not so complex that, if the case proceeded to trial, a jury would not be able to understand such issues without the assistance of a court-appointed expert. Therefore, the Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion.