Spencer v. Wal-Mart Stores East

In Spencer v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, 930 A.2d 881 (Del.2007) the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's decision to exclude the "expert testimony" of an architect who was testifying as to snow and ice removal. In Spencer the proposed expert was trained as an architect whose experience in snow and ice removal was limited to a two-day course and, as a teenager, helping his father, who operated a snow plowing business. (d. at 888-89.) The proposed expert in Spencer worked for an architectural consulting firm where he provided opinions for clients on topics including construction quality, playground equipment, mold, water infiltration, maintenance procedures, and snow removal. The Superior Court in Spencer noted that the "trial Court must ensure that the expert's experience can produce an opinion that is sufficiently informed, testable, and verifiable on an issue to be determined at trial." The court continued, "thus, an expert must possess not only specialized knowledge, but also be able analytically to apply that experience in giving a reliable opinion in the case at bar." Furthermore, in analyzing the Superior Court's decision, the Supreme Court looked at the proposed expert's formal education and training, any continuing education on the subject, current and previous employment, membership in professional organizations related to the subject matter of the testimony, and any other life experience that could give the witness expertise in the relevant field. (See Spencer, 930 A.2d at 888-89.)