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WPI 2.10 Expert Testimony

6 WAPRAC WPI 2.10Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 2.10 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part I. General Instructions
Chapter 2. Credibility of Witnesses, Weight of Testimony, and Other Evidence
WPI 2.10 Expert Testimony
A witness who has special training, education, or experience may be allowed to express an opinion in addition to giving testimony as to facts.
You are not, however, required to accept his or her opinion. To determine the credibility and weight to be given to this type of evidence, you may consider, among other things, the education, training, experience, knowledge, and ability of the witness. You may also consider the reasons given for the opinion and the sources of his or her information, as well as considering the factors already given to you for evaluating the testimony of any other witness.
The WPI Committee recommends that this instruction be given only upon request.
The court in Gerberg v. Crosby, 52 Wn.2d 792, 329 P.2d 184 (1958), held that the court need not give a special instruction on expert testimony on its own initiative. In dictum, however, the court indicated that such an instruction should be given if requested:
In the case at bar the jury was instructed generally that they were the sole and exclusive judges of the credibility of the several witnesses and the weight to be attached to the testimony of each. It perhaps would have been wise to have specifically called the jury's attention to the fact that this instruction also applied to expert witnesses.
Gerberg v. Crosby, 52 Wn.2d at 800. See also Talley v. Fournier, 3 Wn.App. 808, 479 P.2d 96 (1970) (reaffirming that such an instruction should be given).
The determination as to whether an expert witness possesses the necessary qualifications to testify upon a proper subject is within the sound discretion of the trial court. Rice v. Johnson, 62 Wn.2d 591, 384 P.2d 383 (1963); Saldivar v. Momah, 145 Wn.App. 365, 397, 186 P.3d 1117 (2008) (discretion is to be exercised according to specified criteria).
A qualified expert is competent to express an opinion on a proper subject even though the expert thereby expresses an opinion on the ultimate fact to be found by the trier of fact. ER 704; Gerberg v. Crosby, 52 Wn.2d 792, 329 P.2d 184 (1958).
It is for the jury to determine what weight should be given expert-opinion testimony. Gerberg v. Crosby, 52 Wn.2d 792, 329 P.2d 184 (1958); Sigurdson v. City of Seattle, 48 Wn.2d 155, 292 P.2d 214 (1956); Kohfeld v. United Pacific Ins. Co., 85 Wn.App. 34, 42–43, 931 P.2d 911 (1997).
For a more complete discussion of these issues, see Tegland, 5B Washington Practice: Evidence Law and Practice §§ 702.1 et seq. (6th ed.).
[Current as of September 2018.]
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