Expert Witnessing and Scientific Testimony: A Guidebook, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Expert Witnessing and Scientific Testimony

A Guidebook, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Kenneth S. Cohen

CRC Press

299 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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Based on the author’s more than 35 years of experience as a successful expert witness, this revised and expanded edition of Expert Witnessing and Scientific Testimony: A Guidebook demonstrates how to properly present scientific, criminal, and forensic testimony and survive the onslaught of cross-examination in court. It presents material in a step-by-step format for scientists or business professionals who find themselves thrown into the situation of testifying in a legal action.

New Features in the Second Edition:

  • Features two new chapters on fraud and medical malpractice testimony
  • Updates and expands the original chapters

The book addresses the courtroom experience by illustrating actual cases and experiences in procedure, strategy, cross-examination, and the exposure of personal history. It stresses that the primary role of an expert witness is to clarify and simplify complex technical, scientific, criminal, or forensic issues. Examples of experts with years of experience as witnesses highlight what to do and what not to do in providing quality testimony.

Expert Witnessing and Scientific Testimony: A Guidebook, Second Edition is an excellent aid for preparing to give expert testimony. Its real-life examples and practical suggestions to avoid common pitfalls ease your path to testifying in the courtroom. It is a valuable resource in warding off the stresses that accompany a high-pressure and high-value legal situation.

Table of Contents

Involvement in a Legal Action

Your First Subpoena

How Did I Get Into This?

I’m Not an Expert or a Witness!

When Recognizing Errors and Omissions Is Your Job

Expert Witnessing

The Who

The What and Where

The When

The How

Witness Backgrounds


The Legal Definition of Negligence

Professional Negligence

Statutory Negligence

Ignorance Is No Excuse of the Law

Rules of Evidence and Code of Procedure

What You Need to Know

Hearsay Rule

Chain of Custody

Hazardous Materials

Nondestructive Testing

Rape Evidence Kit

The Body of Scientific Literature

Libraries Are for the Dinosaurs

And Then There Was MEDLARS

CD-ROMS: Making Progress

The Internet

Too Much Information

Foundation Equates to Persuasion

Court: "I’ve Seen His Noodles and They Are Okay!"

The Weight of Testimony

Foundation of Knowledge


Exponential Decay Curve

Electron Microscopy

Legal Expert Witnesses

Who Qualifies?

Believing in One’s Self

Witness Preparation

The Invisible Expert

The Truth Only Comes Out One Way!

Speaking the Language of Lawyers

Legal Language 101

Responsiveness to the Question

Anticipating Questions

Attorney-Client Privilege

Don’t Speak "Legal"

Doing the Courtroom Dance, First Learn the Steps

Step 1: Deposition

Step 2: Mandatory Settlement Conference

Step 3: Trial

Skeletons in Your Closet

Digging up the Past

Pretext: When the Line Is Crossed

Fee Questions

Finding a Few Skeletons Yourself

Résumés: One of Your Best or Worst Tools

Skeletons in Unlikely Places

Rehabilitation of an Expert Witness

Impeachment Is Not Just for Presidents!

First Few Minutes of Cross-Examination

Toward the End of Cross-Examination

Don’t Underestimate the Jury


Criminal, Civil, and Workers’ Compensation Cases

Criminal Cases

Civil Cases

Workers’ Compensation Cases

Toxic Torts in Retrospect

Introduction of Toxic Torts

Medical Misdiagnosis

Compensation: Not Just for Work Anymore

One Case Is Tragic; Two or More Is an Epidemic


Birth of a Lawsuit



Dual Role of the Court

Professional Liability

Professional Liability Insurance

Indemnification Clauses and Letters

Hold-Harmless Agreements

"Going Barefoot" with Limited Financial Assets

Actionable Events and Activities

Scientific Accuracy, Completeness, and Documentation

Out of the Ordinary: Investigations, Cases, and Trials

Abalone’s Revenge!

Did She Die Now or Later?

Peep Show Problems

Fried Chicken Maggots

Musician’s Asbestos Exposure

A Double Shotgun Death in the Backcountry

Dr. Tyndall, I Presume?

Is That My Pubic Hair?

Redwood Deck Blues!

Bull-Riding Roofer

Don’t Shake My Hand

Lethality of Human Poop

Lipoid Pneumonia Doesn’t Mean "Fat Lungs"

Ordinary or Out-of-the-Ordinary?

Expert Witnesses: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Christopher E. Andreas

Trial Basics

The "Good"

The "Bad"

The "Ugly"

Closing Argument

Do You Charge for Your Testimony?

No, I Charge for My Time!

Fee Structure

Pro Bono Work

Workers’ Compensation Reports

Travel and Expenses

Cancellation Fees

Privacy versus Disclosure

Being a Medical Expert Witness: Be Careful What You Wish For!

David M. Priver

Promotion of High Standards of Medical Care

We Get Paid to Do This

We Are Helpers

We Educate Ourselves

Bringing the Fields of Law and Medicine Closer Together

Agreeing Inappropriately to a Settlement

Inherent Conflict of Interest

No Help to Patients with Bad Outcomes Unrelated to Negligence

Inappropriate Ethical Guidelines

Poor Quality Medical Records

Could There Be a Better Medical Tort System?

The Fifteen Questions to Answer Before Becoming a Medical Expert Witness

Accounting and Financial Matters: Numbers Don’t Lie

Stephen A. Pedneault

The Spectrum of Experts

My Sweet Spot

Nothing Beats Experience

Motions In Limine to Preclude an Expert (aka Daubert Challenges)

Crossing the Double Yellow Line

When it Comes to Experts, Testifying = Educating

People Like Analogies

It All Ends Up in Retained Earnings

Closing Arguments

Potholes in the Road to Expert Witnessing


About the Author

Kenneth S. Cohen was born in 1937 and was raised and educated primarily in the Los Angeles, California, area before joining the U.S. Navy in 1959. The Navy sent him to a pharmacy school, and after an honorable discharge in 1963, he returned to San Diego State University to complete his bachelor’s of science in microbiology in 1965. He entered a two-year master’s program in biology but withdrew while writing his thesis out of necessity. He completed his education by seeking an off-campus degree, nine years later, from California Western University and was awarded a PhD in occupational health in 1976. He has been court qualified since 1974 as an expert witness in jurisdictions across the United States and has given testimony in nearly 1000 depositions and more than 500 court trials.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Medical Law & Legislation
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety