Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Experts and Summary Judgment — Competing Threads of Decision

Does an expert opinion -- or do conflicting expert opinions -- create a fact issue precluding summary judgment?

Fact Issue Created

Harris v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 310 F.3d 73, 79 (2d Cir. 2002): “Where, as here, there are conflicting expert reports presented, courts are wary of granting summary judgment." Hudson Riverkeeper Fund v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 138 F. Supp. 2d 482, 488 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). See also B.F. Goodrich v. Betkoski, 99 F.3d 505, 527 (2d Cir. 1996) (denying summary judgment where expert affidavit raised genuine issue of material fact); Iacobelli Constr. v. County of Monroe, 32 F.3d 19, 25-26 (2d Cir. 1994) (same); In re Joint E. & S. Dist. Asbestos Litig. , 964 F.2d 92, 96 (2d Cir. 1992) (same); Jiminez v. Dreis & Krump Mfg. Co. , 736 F.2d 51, 54 (2d Cir. 1984) (same).” See also Provenz v. Miller, 102 F.3d 1478, 1490 (9th Cir. 1996): “‘As a general rule, summary judgment is inappropriate where an expert’s testimony supports the non-moving party’s case.’”

No Fact Issue Created

Raskin v. Wyatt Co., 125 F.3d 55, 66 (2d Cir. 1997): “[A]n expert's report is not a talisman against summary judgment.” Quoted with approval in Major League Baseball Props., Inc. v. Salvino, Inc., 542 F.3d 290, 311 (2d Cir. 2008).

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