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USING COMPUTER MODELS IN COURT: CHALLENGES FOR EXPERT WITNESSES
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: Pp. 273-280 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations–II Proceedings of the 8-12 November 2003 Conference (Albuquerque, New Mexico USA), Publication Date 8 November 2003. .(doi:10.13031/2013.15572)
Authors: R. B. Blackstock
Keywords: Water quality, point and non-point source pollution, development, application, performance and validation of models, data quality, collection and management, forensic use of computer models, Daubert challenges
Lawsuits often follow from disagreements over the allocation of responsibility and liability for degradations in water quality caused by point and nonpoint source pollution. The recent case filed by the City of Tulsa about water quality issues in the Eucha/Spavinaw Basin located in northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas is an example. A central issue in many of these lawsuits is the reliability and admissibility of expert witness testimony based upon the results of mathematical models. Challenges to model results are typically based on objections to data quality, collection, and management and the development, application, performance and validation of the models themselves. Researchers who provide expert testimony in court based on the forensic use of models face unique challenges that differ from the ordinary peer review process with which they have become familiar in the course of their academic work. Nevertheless, they may enhance the ability of their results to survive these challenges by extending the data collection and quality control procedures they already employ and by fully documenting the model validation and calibration procedures that were used to establish the reliability of the results that form the basis for expert testimony.(Download PDF) (Export to EndNotes)