Court-Appointed Experts

Very often, Judges will appoint their own expert to assist with their resolution of the case.  Some times, a Judge will appoint their own experts right from the get go.  In a recent case, a judge appointed a custody, business valuation and employability expert at the first motion, even though the parties planned on getting

In an interesting unreported (non-precedential) decision released on October 13, 2010, the Appellate Division held that it was error to dismiss a case simply because a litigant was not ready to proceed on the date of a final hearing because they sought their own expert in a custody matter. 

In McCain v. Schultz the court, which had a detailed if not convoluted procedural history that delayed the matter somewhat, the court had appointed a custody expert to prepare a report.  When the report came in about 3 weeks before the final hearing date, the father’s lawyer wrote to the Court requesting an adjournment so that the father can obtain his own expert, as is his right under the Rules of Court.  The mother opposed the request allegedly given the age of the matter (but probably because the report was favorable to her position).  Rather than adjourn the matter, citing "rules" regarding timing for completion of "non-dissolution" (typically family court matters regarding custody or support between unmarried litigants) matters, the judge dismissed the matter without prejudice.  This appeal ensued.


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