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Medical societies trying to sanction errant experts? Book 'em

Of late, numerous specialty medical societies have explored the idea of investigating and perhaps sanctioning those among their membership who give unreliable, erroneous or dishonest testimony as hired experts in litigation; some societies have begun to adopt rules toward that end. Peter Nordberg, who frequently espouses viewpoints on issues of expert testimony that are in contrast with ours, argues (in part I of what he promises will be a multi-part series) that although couched as efforts to hold testifiers to ethical standards, these medical society initiatives in fact "represent a real or attempted usurpation of the legal system's legitimately exclusive authority in regulating the presentation of evidence". Moreover, he argues, such efforts "may even be viewed as a form of witness tampering subject to criminal sanction under current law in some jurisdictions" -- or if not, he suggests, than should be made so.

The upshot, if Nordberg's arguments are accepted by those who run the legal system? Officials of groups like the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and American Academy of Neurology might be led off to long prison sentences for their impertinent interference with matters that should be within the domain of legal professionals only. Or maybe we're missing something.

P.S. He's now posted Part II here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.