In trials, expert witnesses play a crucial role in providing specialized knowledge and insights in various cases. It is a sad reality that some experts who routinely testify in legal proceedings have seemingly "sold" their medical licenses and conscience to serve the interests of insurance companies and corporations, often making millions of dollars a year. It is doubtful whether some medical experts even practice medicine, let alone see patients. This not only undermines the integrity of the legal system, but can have grave consequences for the pursuit of justice. For attorneys seeking to uncover the truth and ensure justice prevails, this poses a significant challenge.
The power of inconsistency
Consistency is often a cornerstone of credibility. Expert witnesses are expected to provide unwavering testimony based on their professional knowledge and experience. Any inconsistencies between their previous statements and their current testimony can cast doubt on the interests they are trying to defend.
We have used AI software to level the playing field with unscrupulous experts and the corporate interests who hire them. We have used a particular software, called CoCounsel, to analyze prior testimony from expert witnesses - which is reviewed in a matter of minutes versus days - offering a quick and precise analysis of inconsistencies and contradictions in the expert's prior testimony. It empowers attorneys to scrutinize experts with a level of detail and efficiency that was previously unimaginable.
Case in point: 63 depositions and 7,500 pages
One recent case exemplifies the power of AI in exposing the questionable practices of a well known expert witness who has testified hundreds of times for the defense and insurance companies in the past 4 years. In this case, we uploaded 63 previous deposition transcripts of the expert in question, amounting to over 7,500 pages. The AI software was tasked with the arduous process of reviewing each of these transcripts to determine if the expert had ever made statements inconsistent with their report in the ongoing case. I asked the AI software 15 complicated questions about whether the expert ever gave a particular medical opinion, the fees he claims he makes per year, and other issues that might attack his credibility.
The software took about 45 minutes to analyze all 7500 pages, and came back with a spreadsheet which identified whether the particular topic was addressed in each transcript, and it then provided the exact page and line where the topic appeared, along with a quote from the transcript concerning the topic.
In this case, the software generated a memorandum detailing whether the expert had ever made comments regarding a specific medical imaging study. The result was illuminating: the expert had talked about the efficacy study once in the past, revealing a glaring inconsistency with his current testimony. This was a game changer in the case.
Seeking truth and justice
The use of AI technology to hold unsavory experts accountable aligns with the broader pursuit of truth and justice in the legal system. It is an invaluable tool for lawyers and judges who are committed to upholding the principles of honesty, transparency, and fairness in the courtroom.
By leveraging AI software we can enhance their ability to uncover inconsistencies and reveal the true motivations of expert witnesses who may have compromised their professional ethics. This, in turn, enables us to present a more accurate representation of the facts to the court, fostering a fairer legal environment.
A tool for reform
The implications of AI-driven accountability in the legal field go beyond individual cases. It has the potential to reform how expert witnesses are utilized and vetted. The revelation of inconsistencies through AI analysis could lead to changes in the way experts are selected, cross-examined, and monitored, with a focus on maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.
The ability of AI is almost unlimited. One day, would it be possible for the Courts to have every possible transcript ever written in an AI database and when a particular expert testifies, the factfinder would be able to instantly tell if the expert was being truthful? Would AI be able to listen to the testimony of experts and serve as a secondary validation (or invalidation) of a jury verdict warranting a new trial?