Duty to Update the Court about Your Expert’s, Um, Hypocrisy?

May 21, 2010



was quite intrigued by the recent brouhaha in Florida over some reported activity of an expert witness that supported Florida’s ban on gay adoption.  If you run a search in the Florida news (FLNP) for rekers & da(last 30 days) you will get several stories about the expert and his “luggage helper.”  This is a national story that ended up being reported (5/19/10 NYT A15)  as a possible professional responsibility issue for the Attorney General of Florida.

Well, there is no mention of what rule of professional responsibility is in play in any article I read.  As a Reference Attorney, I had to look it up since my course on Professional Responsibility left my personal data banks many moons ago.  Further, a common issue handed down the ranks in a law firm is that of “What is the professional rule that fits this obviously unethical situation?”  An important thing to know about Westlaw is that almost all state rules (and the local federal district court rules) are housed in the state statutory databases.  So, for my situation, I hit the Florida Statutes Annotated (FL-ST-ANN) and did the following search: pr,ca(professional /2 conduct responsibility) & (duty /2 disclos! updat!) (fals! /2 testimony).  This search finds the professional conduct rules using the preliminary and caption fields and then seeks out the specific issue within those rules- the pertinent section being “Candor Towards the Tribunal.”   Also, the Florida case that the expert was involved in is at 2008 WL 5006172.  It is a good read.