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Expert Witness May Testify Only on Matters Related to His Expertise
Description Trial judge granted a motion to strike certain expert testimony. The judge held that testimony that went beyond the particular areas of expertise of the witness would not be allowed. Witness could only testify on matters for which he was qualified.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Evidence; Expert Testimony
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Vuono, a sports marketing and licensing expert, was hired as an expert witness by the defendant to testify on negotiations that occurred between a basketball organization and a shoe company. The plaintiff objected that "Vuono's testimony consists almost entirely of legal conclusions that go to the ultimate issue in the case: whether a contract was formed." Plaintiff moved to strike the certain testimony.
Decision Motion granted. "To the extent that Mr. Vuono would seek to opine on whether a contract was formed, he would inevitably have to discuss issues of contract law. Such testimony would usurp the role of the judge in instructing the jury on the law, as well as the role of the jury in determining whether [a party] breached any legal or contractual obligation." Such testimony concerns matters outside of Vuono's area of expertise and is, therefore, excluded, "except to the extent that such testimony is limited to an analysis of whether the parties' behavior conformed with industry customs and practices." Vuono could also testify as to estimates of damages.
Citation Media Sport & Arts v. Kinney Shoe Corp., 1999 WL 946354 (Slip Copy, S.D.N.Y.)

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