Legal Memorandum: Exclusion of Expert Testimony in MS

Issue: Under Mississippi law, does the court have discretion to preclude expert testimony for violation of the rules?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Expert testimony; Violation of rules; Motion to exclude
Jurisdiction: Mississippi
Cited Cases: 486 So. 2d 370; 551 So. 2d 897; 555 So. 2d 713; 372 So.2d 1077; 508 So.2d 1099; 419 So. 2d 1327; 501 So. 2d 1093
Cited Statutes: Rule 37(b)(2)(B), M.R.C.P.
Date: 04/01/2001

           A motion to exclude testimony based on violation of the rule(s), unlike a motion based solely on evasive or incomplete answers, need not be preceded by a motion to compel.  See State Highway Comm’n v. Havard, 508 So.2d 1099, 1104 (Miss. 1987) (motion to compel required if answer in “sufficient compliance” with the rules); Denman v. Hardy, 437 So. 2d 426, 429 (Miss. 1983) (“If a party totally fails to respond to an interrogatory or his response is of absolutely no substance, subsection (d) of § 13-1-237 requires no prior order before imposing sanctions. . . .”). 

“When discovery rules are violated, Rule 37(b)(2)(B), M.R.C.P., authorizes the trial court to issue ‘an order . . . prohibiting [the defaulting party] from introducing designated matters in evidence.’  Whether such a sanction should be imposed is committed to the sound discretion of the trial court.”  M & M Pipe & Pressure Vessel Fabricators, Inc. v. Roberts, 531 So. 2d 615, 620 (Miss. 1988).  Speedy justice, orderly trials and due respect for the courts demand strict adherence to the rules requiring prompt supplementation of the expert witnesses’ names and substance of testimony, as the supreme court has repeatedly held:  “This Court has interpreted this rule on previous occasions and has held that strict compliance is necessary to prevent trials from being tainted with surprise and unfair advantage.”  Scafidel v. Crawford, 486 So. 2d 370, 372 (Miss. 1986).  See also Brown v. McQuinn, 501 So. 2d […]

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