A ruling in Connecticut Superior Court (Alexander v. Bailey) on March 18,2013 allowed for the admittance of the testimony of an expert witness, if that witness possesses knowledge or experience that is not common and can be found helpful to a jury.
Forrest Law qualified Robert Collins as an expert witness because of his expertise in the field of diminished value. The defendant in the case argued that the plaintiff’s allowable damages were limited to the repair cost of the vehicle; however, the court found that only if the repairs placed the car in substantially the same condition as prior to the accident would this be true. In addition, the defendant filed a motion to exclude the expert testimony of Robert Collins, but the court denied the motion, determining that Collins’s testimony would be of benefit to the jury, given his expertise which it ruled to be not common. Collins was allowed to testify and the jury heard his opinion which they took into consideration when determining the overall verdict of the case, which was ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
The decision was summarized in a recent Connecticut Law Tribune issue, as shown below and listed in its entirety at the end of this blog. (http://www.ctlawtribune.com/CaseSummaryCT.jsp?id=1202594406065)
As printed in the Connecticut Law Tribune, April 1, 2013:
Case: Alexander v. Bailey
Case Number: CV11-5035320S
Judge: Sheridan, J.
A court can admit expert testimony if the expert possesses peculiar knowledge or experience, not common to the world, which makes the expert’s opinion helpful to the factfinder. On Nov. 8, 2010, the plaintiff’s BMW 535i allegedly was in a motor-vehicle accident. The plaintiff’s insurance company paid $19,225 to repair the BMW. The plaintiff, Douglas Alexander, sued the defendant, Tameka Bailey, alleging that the fair market value of the BMW, after repairs, was less than the fair market value prior to the motor-vehicle accident. The defendant objected that the plaintiff’s damages are restricted to costs of repair. The court found that only if repairs place the plaintiff’s property in substantially the same condition as prior to the injury will costs of repairs constitute the amount of the plaintiff’s damages. The defendant filed a motion to preclude the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert, Robert Collins. The court found that Robert Collins possesses a skill or knowledge that is not common and that his testimony will be helpful to the jury. “His experience in the field,” wrote the court, “allows him to opine as to factors which might lead to a diminished value for vehicles with an accident history in general, and this vehicle in particular.” The court denied the defendant’s motion to exclude the testimony of Robert Collins.