Delaware Chancery update--live from BVR webcast


ONe advantage of practicing as an expert in the Delaware Chancery Court is that you're less likely to see Daubert challenges, Vice Chancellor Donald Parsons told today's BVR Webcast.  The simple reason is that the cases are bench trials--without a jury--so it's "assumed that the members of the court can determine what's admissible and what's not."  Of course, this is also  determined by Delaware law, as per MG Bank Corporation and subsequent cases.

While it's rare, since there are no juries, the Court at some times has given expert testimony very little weight, for instance in a situation where the expert appeared to opine on whether some one had broken the law.   That expert was allowed to testify but the Court determined that this was the domain of the Court.  Parsons doesn't necessarily feel lack of "direct personal experience with an industry" would disqualify an otherwise qualified expert.  "But if the expert doesn't have direct personal experience, their counsel should prepare them to make sure they've done the due diligence required" by the Court.

Attorney Kevin Shannon agreed that there's no set rule here, but recalled a case where the future growth rates of the Russian telecom industry was at issue.   He argues that multiple experts might be a strong approach--a business appraiser to analyze the discounted cash flow, and an expert on Russian telecom to feed the growth numbers into the appraiser's analysis.  "A small change can end up having a drastic effect on the end result," Shannon and Parsons agreed, so even though multiple experts are more expensive, the "inputs can be critical."


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