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A New and Challenging Obstacle for California Employers’ Use of Experts in State Courts

Employers litigating cases in California face numerous obstacles, including difficulty obtaining summary judgment, trial postponements, and challenges in recovering attorneys' fees. Recent legislation, California Evidence Code section 801.1, adds another significant hurdle for employers in state court cases by imposing a strict standard for admitting expert testimony on causation of damages. Click here for article.

  • Obstacles in California Courts: Employers face challenges such as difficulty obtaining summary judgment, trial postponements, and challenges in recovering attorneys' fees, making litigation costly and uncertain.

  • California Evidence Code section 801.1: Enacted in response to Kline v. Zimmer, Inc., this legislation imposes a strict standard for admitting expert testimony on causation of damages. Experts must now opine that alternative causes exist to a reasonable medical probability, making it challenging for employers to rebut claims of emotional distress damages.

  • Impact on Employers: The new statute makes it materially more challenging for employers to present expert testimony demonstrating that alleged emotional distress was caused by something other than the claims in the complaint. This may lead to larger verdicts in favor of employees.

  • Implications for Employers: Employers may find mandatory arbitration agreements helpful in managing disputes with employees, consider EPLI policies to mitigate the risk of large verdicts, and carefully evaluate settlement options considering the difficulty in disproving emotional distress claims.



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