4.14: Authority of case management judge

Case Summary

James Cuthbert and two related corporate Defendants (the “Applicants”), applied to the Case Management Judge to exclude or limit the use of an Expert Report at an upcoming Trial. The Applicants applied pursuant to Rule 4.14 which, Justice Hall noted, gives a Case Management Judge the same powers as a Trial Judge to adjudicate any issue prior to Trial.

The Applicants argued the Expert Report should be excluded or limited because it: addressed issues outside of the author’s expertise; expressed opinions on the very matters in dispute before the Trial Judge; and contained information that was irrelevant to the matters in issue. The Respondent Plaintiff conceded that the Expert Report did contain some irrelevant information but argued an assessment of the Report’s admissibility should be left to the Trial Judge. Hall J. stated that a Case Management Judge has the jurisdiction under Rule 4.14 to consider the admissibility of expert evidence even though the Rule is not express in this regard. Further, it is appropriate for a Case Management Judge to exclude all or part of an Expert Report in certain circumstances. A party should not be required to incur the costs of replying to an Expert Report that is clearly inadmissible. However, a Case Management Judge should exercise deference if a Trial Judge is better positioned to make a ruling on an Expert Report.

In this case, Justice Hall held that the Expert Report was clearly inadmissible as it opined on matters of law. However, His Lordship concluded that issues relating to the Expert’s qualifications, as well as contested matters of relevance should be determined by the Trial Judge. Therefore, Justice Hall ordered the Respondent Plaintiff to produce a new Expert Report devoid of legal opinions and irrelevant information.

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