The use of special masters, court appointed experts and technical advisors in federal court
By: Michael Connelly & John Muir
The use of special masters, court appointed experts, and technical advisors is not unique to any specialty area of litigation. In fact, this discussion has general application to all types of litigation and is intended to provide practical insights to the applicable provisions in the federal rules and case law. This article focuses on only the federal rules and related case law. It does not address the same issues in state court practice. The applicable rules and case law may be different in state court.
There are circumstances in litigation which cry out for the use of such “judicial” surrogates, such as multi-party litigation, complex technical subjects which may be beyond the common experience of the court and counsel, and the court’s desire to have neutral insight into issues which must be the subject of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Knowing the differences between such surrogates and how they may be used under the rules and case law will probably allow a practitioner to better protect client interests.