Can an Expert Witness be Sued for Allegedly Negligent Testimony?

Lambert v. Carneghi, a recent California case, held that an expert witness retained to value property in an insurance arbitration proceeding could be sued by the property owner for alleged negligent testimony.  The property owner alleged that the expert had failed to educate the retired judge who was the neutral arbitrator in the proceeding with the result that the valuation of the property owner’s loss came in too low.  The court recognized that ordinarily witnesses cannot be sued for their testimony under California law. But the court carved out an exception for experts. It gets worse. The expert here was not claimed to have made some identifiable professional error.  He was only alleged to have failed to convince the trier of fact of the merit of the property owner’s position. If that is enough to state a cause of action against an expert, then any expert on the losing side of a case can be sued by the party that retained the expert.