Frequently Asked Questions
Whose site is this?
The site was maintained by Peter Nordberg until his death in April of 2010. He is a shareholder in the Philadelphia law firm of Berger & Montague, but that firm does not sponsor the site, and the views and information reflected at this site should not be imputed to the firm. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Nordberg was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1985. His practice focused on complex federal civil litigation, usually on behalf of plaintiffs.
How can Peter Nordberg be contacted?
Mr. Nordberg can obviously no longer be contacted. If you have questions or issues with the site, please write to the webmaster. A link appears at the top of every page on the site.
Who provides financial support for the site?
Any contributors who choose to donate. There is no advertising, except that WebSideStory and Google may display ads on search result pages. The site derives no revenue from those ads.
How do I make a donation?
If you wish to make a donation towards the upkeep of this website, you may do so by contacting the webmaster.
How else can I help?
Let us know about news or information that may be of interest to our users. And please, write to advise us of any errors or omissions.
What is the purpose of the site?
The site is intended to make information about the law of expert evidence available, for free, to interested persons.
What motivated Nordberg to do this?
Truth is beauty; knowledge, power. Both should be freely disseminated.
What biases does the site reflect?
A serious effort is made to present information in unbiased fashion, without spin, because that is what is helpful to users -- and also because one must view the world with eyes wide open, even if one is sometimes discomfited by what one sees. In places, the site does reflect the author's opinions, but not, it is hoped, in the guise of legal fact.
Is the site's coverage of decisional law comprehensive?
No, except that it aspires to cover every federal appellate decision involving the admissibility of expert evidence, published or unpublished, since January 1, 2000. That basic corpus of material was selected for several reasons. Federal appellate decisions have greater precedential weight than district court opinions, are more likely to be available on the web, and are of sufficiently manageable volume that a single attorney can realistically hope to track them all. The starting date of January 1, 2000, is arbitrary, but it can be defended on the ground that prior to that date, district court decisions decided before Kumho Tire were still working their way through the appellate system.
In mid-2004, the site expanded its coverage to include selected appellate decisions from several state court systems. In most of those states, we are assisted by correspondents who are practicing attorneys and who have agreed to monitor the jurisdiction's cases for this site. The site's state-law coverage is still evolving. Attorneys who are willing to serve as correspondents for their jurisdictions are encouraged to write and volunteer.
The site's companion web log, Blog 702, reported on relevant news and developments from all locales, courts, and jurisdictions, but only journalistically -- i.e., in random and haphazard fashion.
Why don't you cover federal district court decisions?
There are too many, their quality is uneven, and they are often unavailable on the web.
Explain the format for the federal case summaries.
When a federal appellate opinion is issued, it is usually digested and posted within one week or less. The summary begins with the name and citation of the case, including a link to the full opinion (if available on the web). Proceedings in the trial court are then summarized, but only insofar as they relate to the admissibility of expert evidence. Substantive legal points relating to other subjects are simply ignored, unless necessary to supply context. The appellate disposition (affirmance or reversal of the evidentiary decision) is then noted, and a brief synopsis of the appellate court's reasoning provided.
Federal case summaries are typically posted in two locations. The summary is posted once on a page listing all cases from the relevant circuit in reverse chronological order. The identical summary is also generally posted on a separate page listing cases from all circuits involving experts from the relevant field. The reason for presenting the information in both formats is simple. Depending on the occasion, some users may be interested primarily in binding precedent from a particular circuit, whereas others may be interested in browsing all decisions involving experts from some particular discipline.
The summaries are intended to serve two purposes. First, they permit users to search the site for the name of a specific decision or expert, or for topical key words. Second, they help users decide whether to take the time to review the full opinion.
How about the format for the state cases?
It is the same as for federal cases, except that summaries are not separately posted by field.
Why don't you have a page covering musicologists (or mathematicians, or . . . )?
A page for a specific field is not created unless there exist federal appellate decisions, decided after January 1, 2000, to report there.
Where can I find an expert on musicology (or mathematics, or . . . )?
You're on your own. This site is not an expert clearinghouse or directory.
What is your copyright policy?
All material at the site is copyrighted. There is no Creative Commons license, but the terms of the standard Creative Commons "Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike" license (version 2.5) have considerable predictive value for the fate of requests to use material from the site. No permission is required, of course, for "fair use," and as a general rule, we welcome attributed uses consistent with the site's objective of making information freely and widely available. Infringements will be challenged with special vigor if there is a failure of attribution (a.k.a. plagiarism), or if the site's content is exploited in unauthorized fashion for commercial purposes (a.k.a. stealing). Permission requests should be addressed to the webmaster at the e-mail address given at the top of every page on the site.