Daubert challenges to financial experts (2016)

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May 2016


In 1993, the US Supreme Court’s opinion in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. addressed the admissibility of expert scientific testimony in federal trials. Our study analyzes challenges to financial expert witnesses under the Daubert standard.  We also look at emerging trends and recurring themes to provide insight into why experts were challenged and excluded.

  • Our study of published court opinions analyzes the 7,411 cases that have cited Daubert and/or the Kumho Tire ruling between 2000 and 2015. This year, our report also provide unique points of view from several attorneys on the current and future landscape around Daubert.

  • 44% of financial experts were excluded in 2015. This is consistent with the 16-year average.

  • Across the 16-year timespan, the most common reason for financial expert exclusions has been lack of reliability. Exclusion rates have been highest in intellectual property and product liability cases.

  • Testimony “based on sufficient facts or data” is a common stumbling block for financial experts and is the most frequent reason for reliability exclusions.

  • In 2015, accountants faced the highest number of challenges and experienced the highest exclusion rate.

  • In a majority of cases (78%), appellate courts agree with lower court Daubert rulings on financial experts.

Contact us

Charles Reddin

Partner, Forensics Services, PwC US

Doug Branch

Partner, Forensics Services, PwC US

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