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Family Law Litigation

Expert Witnesses: Observing the Limits of Expertise

Life-altering opinions are also being offered by file reviewers (work product reviewers), some of whom seem to be oblivious to, or unconcerned about, the inherent limitations of a file reviewer's data.

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In 2013, Timothy M. Tippins, a member of this newsletter’s Board of Editors, opined, in a New York Law Journal column, that there was an “urgent need for the legal system to impose mandatory and enforceable standards of performance upon those mental health professionals who offer potentially life-altering opinions in the custody court” (The Bar Won’t Raise Itself: The Case for Evaluation Standards, July 8, 2013). A year later, writing again for the same ALM publication, Tippins opined that “[a]ll involved must be accountable, and accountability requires standards of performance” (Custody Evaluations: The Quest for Quality, July 3, 2014). Though these articles addressed the work of custody evaluators, life-altering opinions are also being offered by file reviewers (work product reviewers), some of whom seem to be oblivious to, or unconcerned about, the inherent limitations of a file reviewer’s data.

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