UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
October 25, 2011
HUCHINS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF EXPERT WITNESSES (ECF No. 151)
Plaintiff Daniel Manriquez ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Concurrently with the order, an order issued requiring Plaintiff to either file an amended complaint or notify the Court that he wished to proceed only on the claims found to be cognizable. On October 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion for appointment of expert witnesses on the use of force, chemical agents, and a medical expert at Defendants' expense.
The Court has the discretion to appoint an expert pursuant to Rule 706(a) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which reads, in part, "[t]he court may on its own motion or on the motion of any party enter an order to show cause why expert witnesses should not be appointed . . . ." Fed. R. Evid. 706(a); Walker v. American Home Shield Long Term Disability Plan, 180 F.3d 1065, 1071 (9th Cir. 1999). Pursuant to Rule 702, "[i]f scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise." Fed. R. Evid. 702.
The function of an expert witness is to assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence. At this early stage in the proceedings, Plaintiff's motion is premature. Plaintiff may re-file his motion at such time as there is evidence before the Court requiring interpretation (e.g., a pending motion for summary judgment or a trial date). Until that time, any motion for the appointment of an expert is premature.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for the appointment of an expert witness, filed October 21, 2011, is HEREBY DENIED, without prejudice, as premature.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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