The Role of the Expert Witness in Products Liability Litigation

The Federal Rules of Evidence state the requirements for expert witnesses, but they are only the launching point for effective litigation work by an expert. To ably assist their clients, experts must understand the role they play both at the trial and beforehand.

Through this intensive, participatory seminar, both experienced and future expert witnesses will gain a better understanding of the key issues of expert testimony.

This one-and-a-half day course will also enable participants to:

Course Emphasis and Application:

The role of the expert must begin with an in-depth understanding of the basic legal principles governing products liability litigation: negligence and strict liability. The course then builds on this foundation. In-depth coverage of the types of defects and the interrelationship of the environment, product uses, and product users follow. The seminar concludes with some hard advice on practical matters, including conflicts of interest, the expert's files, and of course, providing testimony at deposition and trial.

Special Features:

Professional Level:

The course is primarily intended to serve anyone who may be called as an expert witness, including engineers and technicians. Corporate management can benefit by learning how to construct a defensible legal position. Legal counsel can benefit through a greater understanding of how to better utilize the expert as a resource.

Instructors' Biographies:

Alvin S. Weinstein is an attorney and a mechanical engineer. He is Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie-Mellon University and has taught law at the Franklin Pierce Law Center. He has been active in government sponsored research for improving the product liability litigation process and developing approaches for manufacturers to reduce exposure to liability. He was chairman of the Design, Engineering and the Law Committee of the America Society of Mechanical Engineers. Among his publications is the book Products Liability and the Reasonably Safe Product.

Charles F. Seyboldt has degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Law. He has over 15 years of experience in the transportation industry, having engineering responsibilities covering a broad range of product and manufacturing technologies. He is a registered Professional Engineer and a registered patent agent.

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Alvin Weinstein and Charles Seyboldt can also be reached at:

Weinstein Associates
19 Ridgeview Drive
Standish, Maine 04011
(207) 893-0352
(800) 893-8142 (fax)

The Role of the Expert Witness in Products Liability Litigation

Seminar Outline

Day 1, a.m.

Federal Rules of Evidence

The Character of the Expert

Basic Legal Principles in Products Liability

Day 1, p.m.


System Design


Problem Assignments

Day 2, a.m.

Problem analysis by participants

Examples of actual trial and deposition testimony

The Expert in the Legal Process