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Expert testimony plays a critical role in
environmental and toxic tort litigation . While most litigation settles, the
work of an expert should, from the outset, be prepared with trial in mind.
First and foremost, an expert, using the appropriate expertise, must be able to
resolve questions that will assist the trier of fact in making determinations
necessary under the law applicable to the case. In addition, an expert must
demonstrate a solid scientific foundation in all of his or her opinions. Once
armed with the opinions reached in the case, the forensic expert should work
with the trial team to simplify proof, clarify the presentation and integrate
it with other trial proof and themes . This effort should include the
realistic identification of any perceived or real shortcomings regarding the
information available, the approach taken by or conclusions reached by the
expert. Ongoing communication between the trial team and the expert throughout
the discovery and pre-trial litigation is essential.