The opinion of the court was delivered by: Legrome D. Davis, J.
AND NOW, this 19th day of February, 2013, upon consideration of
the parties' submissions as permitted by the Court, *fn1
it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant Deloitte & Touche,
LLP may substitute an expert witness to replace its former expert, Mr.
Terry Musika. It is further ordered that:
(1) By March 15, 2013, Defendant Deloitte shall designate an expert.
(2) The testimony of the expert so designated shall be limited to the topics upon which Mr. Musika previously opined.
(3) By March 22, 2013, counsel for Defendant Deloitte and Plaintiffs shall submit a joint proposed schedule for:
* Defendant Deloitte's production of the newly designated expert's report.
* Plaintiffs' production of an expert report in rebuttal.
* Completion of all discovery and depositions in regard to the newly produced expert reports.
On November 17, 2008, Defendant Deloitte timely disclosed Mr. Musika as an expert. Plaintiffs noticed the deposition of Mr. Musika as a discovery deposition. See Def. Br., Doc. No. 860 at 1-3, Exs. B, C. On March 3-6, 2009, the deposition was conducted as a discovery deposition. It was not noticed or conducted as a de bene esse proceeding subject to the Federal Rules of Evidence. See 3/3/09 Dep. Tr. Terry L. Musika, Pls. Br., Ex. 2, Doc. No. 861.
Plaintiffs questioned Mr. Musika about topics in his report and opinions he would offer at trial. Deloitte did not conduct a direct examination. At that time, none of the parties was aware that Mr. Musika would be unavailable to testify at trial. On January 8, 2013, Deloitte's counsel learned that Mr. Musika had passed away. On January 11, 2013, counsel so notified the Court.
Deposition testimony of a witness who is unavailable at trial may be used for any purpose "to the extent it would be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence if the deponent were present and testifying." Fed. R. Civ. P. 32(a)(1)(B); id., Rule 32(a)(4)(a) ("may use for any purpose . . . if . . . the witness is dead"). In determining whether to permit such use of deposition testimony, it must be found "that exceptional circumstances make it desirable -- in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of live testimony in open court . . . ."
Issues of causation and damages *fn2 will be the subject of expert testimony by both parties at trial. The opportunity for cross-examination and observation of the demeanor of witnesses as to those issues are of paramount importance here. The jury should be informed by the direct testimony of each side's experts as well.
Plaintiffs say that Mr. Musika's testimony is inadmissible, and the newly designated expert's testimony will add unnecessarily to an already costly and lengthy litigation. See Pls. Br., Doc. No. 861 at 9-11. However, no motion to exclude Mr. Musika's testimony was previsously made, and no ruling on the admissibility of his testimony has been issued. Also, the parties can cooperate in achieving a replacement for Mr. Musika and efficient discovery of the new expert. Plaintiffs suggest that the new expert's expected testimony will be as unhelpful as they found Mr. Musika's testimony ...