AN ACT AMENDING THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE TO MODERNIZE DISCOVERY OF EXPERT WITNESSES AND CLARIFYING EXPERT WITNESS COSTS IN CIVIL ACTIONS.
Enacts new GS 1A-1, Rule 26(b)(4a), in the Rules of Civil Procedure, concerning trial preparation and the discovery of experts, providing that the discovery of facts known and opinions held by experts that are otherwise discoverable under the specified provisions of this Rule and acquired or developed in anticipation of litigation or for trial can only be obtained as provided in this subdivison including, but not limited to, requiring the disclosure of the identity of any witness that may be used at trial to present evidence, the option of submitting a written report of the opinion that an expert witness will express and the basis and reasons for it, the ability to require through interrogatories the other party to identify those witnesses expected to be called as expert witnesses, and specified information related to their testimony. Also includes provisions concerning depositions of an expert that may testify, setting out procedures and the limitations of deposing the specified expert witnesses.
Establishes that a party seeking discovery under the specified provisions must pay the expert a reasonable fee for the time spent at that expert's deposition. Provides that specified drafts of reports from experts are protected from disclosure and are not discoverable regardless of the form the draft is recorded in. Provides protection for communications between a party's attorney and an expert witness with limited exceptions. Sets out procedures for disclosing expert witness testimony for those parties that have agreed to the submission of written reports pursuant to Rule 26(b)(6)a.2., or those parties seeking disclosure by way of interrogatory, providing for disclosure by scheduling order in accordance with the specified provisions for serving written reports when an agreement on the submission of reports cannot be reached.
Amends GS 7A-314(d), making a clarifying and conforming change.
Effective October 1, 2015, applying to claims or motions for costs pending or filed on or after that date.
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