How Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz was precluded from testifying as his own damages expert
I previously noted the legal malpractice claim that Joseph Stiglitz, the famous economist, brought in D.C. against his divorce lawyer. The outcome of the trial was covered by the Legal Times, among others.
That trial was a good case study of how to hamstring a professional plaintiff from testifying as an expert on his own behalf. Here, the defense, represented by Richard A. Simpson, Esq., was able to obtain a ruling that Joseph Stiglitz, a nobel prize winning economist, could not testify on his own behalf concerning his own damages, where his damages were among other things his own stream of royalty income and the value of his own time. This turned out not to matter so much, as the jury verdict for the defendant on liability meant that the jury never even had to reach the damages issues.
In his expert witness disclosures, Stiglitz included himself among his designated experts, albeit without much specificity. Rather, his counsel simply incorporated Stiglitz's deposition testimony and discovery responses. However, the expert witness disclosures were vulnerable to attack.
First, the defense moved to strike the testimony of Stiglitz's retained damages expert, Michael Cragg. The main line of argument was that Cragg's Rule 26(a)(2) report was not submitted until a week before the close of discovery, and more than a year after the deadline for such reports. Cragg's untimely report included a discussion of the value of Stiglitz's lost time and the value of his book royalties, among other things. The Court granted the motion to strike Cragg as an expert on January 7, 2008. (In hindsight, given that the trial ultimately took place more than two years later, this ruling seems a bit harsh.)
Subsequently, the defense moved to strike Stiglitz as his own damages expert, arguing that the plaintiff would be attempting to circumvent the Court's prior order if he were allowed to testify as his own expert on the very elements of damages that Cragg would have covered, and that in any event, Stiglitz was not qualified to be an expert on the specific damages issues to be considered by the jury, such as royalties.
The Court on August 25, 2010, entered a minute order granting the defense motion in limine to preclude Stiglitz's purported damages evidence.