SW Legal studies in Business

Parties Do Not Have a Right to Call as Many Expert Witnesses as Desired
Description

Appeals court held that in a land valuation trial for the trial court to allow each party to call one expert witness, and refuse the request of one party to call two additional witnesses to address the same matter, was reasonable and within the discretion of the court.

Topic Court Procedure
Key Words

Eminent Domain; Expert Testimony; Valuation

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

The state of Texas condemned a half-acre of land to use in an Interstate highway widening. When the state filed the petition, the trial court appointed special commissioners who conducted a hearing and determined that the payment should be $1.5 million. The property owner, Gaylor, objected, which meant a trial de novo. Gaylorís expert testified at trial that compensation should be $2.9 million. The expert for the state said compensation should be $520,500. The jury awarded $1.85 million. The state appealed, contending it should have been allowed to have two more experts testify, a request that the trial judge had refused.

Decision

Affirmed. A decision to admit or exclude evidence rests within the discretion of the trial court. The court abuses its discretion if its decision is arbitrary, unreasonable, or without reference to guiding principles. Allowing each party to the litigation to call one expert was reasonable; there was no reason that one party should be allowed to have three experts while the other party relies on one.

Citation

Stat of Texas v. Gaylor Investment Trust, ---S.W.3d--- (2010 WL 3409659, Ct. App., Tx., 2010)

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