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Without the help of the rebuttal expert, one side may be limited merely to saying “no, you’re wrong,” without being able to offer any explanation as to why the opposing party is wrong or what alternate situation might explain the facts instead.
Rebuttal expert witnesses are used in cases in which one side must offer an alternative explanation for the opposing party’s view of the facts in order to persuade the judge or jury to take their view. Often, the need for them appears during the discovery stage. One party discloses their expert, the opposing party makes a Daubert, summary judgment motion, or seeks to minimize the opposing expert's report, arguing that the expert is deficient, and the first party seeks an additional expert disclosure – aka a “rebuttal” expert.