Questions and Answers: Annual Report of Expert Witness Activities of Faculty »

1. Why is this information being requested?

The Legislature enacted a law in 1999 requiring that this information be collected and reported to the Governor and both houses of the Legislature. The law is Section 61.0815, Texas Education Code.

2. Who is responsible for making the report?

Ultimately, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Attorney General, and the Presidents of the institutions are all responsible for reporting this information. However, the reports are to be based on information that is provided by the employees who are covered by the law.

3. Which employees are covered by the law?

Those persons who meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. full-time, non-classified employee
  2. member of the faculty or staff
  3. duties include teaching, research, administration or performing professional services, including professional library services
  4. received compensation for service as an expert or consulting witness in a lawsuit
  5. the State of Texas (including state agencies) was one of the parties in the case, and
  6. the compensation was for services rendered during the latest fiscal year (September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2006).
4. What is the difference between a "fact" witness and an "expert" or "consultant" witness?

A fact witness is one who testifies from his or her own knowledge of the facts that are the basis of the lawsuit. For example, a witness to an accident who testifies about what he saw is a fact witness. An expert in crash reconstruction who is retained by one of the parties to study the crash and give an opinion is a consulting witness. If the expert testifies in a deposition or at trial, he is an expert witness. Fact witnesses do NOT file this report. Only expert and consultant witness services are covered by the law.

5. What about other lawsuits (where there is no State agency being sued)?

If the State of Texas or a state agency is not a party in the case, the case should NOT be reported.

6. What are the deadlines?

The law requires the Coordinating Board to file its report with the Governor and the Legislature by November 1st. In order to allow time to compile the information into the report, the Coordinating Board  has set September 30th as the deadline for the institutions to file reports with the board. The A&M System will be filing a consolidated report including all of the data from its members, and in order to meet the CB's deadline, the reports must be filed with the Vice Chancellor by September 15th at the latest.

7. Which office is in charge of filing the information with the Coordinating Board?

The Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs will be responsible for the report to the Coordinating Board. CEO's should compile information provided by faculty and affected staff members and forward the information to the Vice Chancellor's office. 

8. Where did the questions on the reporting form come from?

All of the questions on the form ask for information that is required by the law.

9. What if an employee who must file the report does not know the requested information or is bound by contract not to reveal it?

Although there is no specific provision in the law that deals with this situation, it is our opinion that an employee may respond that he or she does not possess the requested information or is bound by contract not to reveal it.

10. Will the Coordinating Board's report identify the employees by name?

The law requires that the report to be filed by the Coordinating Board must not identify specific individuals.

 

Texas Education Code

 

 § 61.0815.  REPORT ON HIGHER EDUCATION EMPLOYEES SERVING AS EXPERT WITNESSES IN CERTAIN SUITS. 
  1. (a)  In this section, "member of the faculty or professional staff of an institution of higher education" means a person who is employed full-time by an institution of higher education as a member of the faculty or staff and whose duties include teaching, research, administration, or the performance of professional services, including professional library services.  The term does not include a person employed in a position controlled by the institution's classified personnel system or a person employed in a similar position if the institution does not have a classified personnel
    system.
  2. (b)  Not later than November 1 of each year, the board shall submit to the governor and to the presiding officer of each house of the legislature a written report regarding compensated service by members of the faculty or professional staff of institutions of higher education as consulting or testifying expert
    witnesses in suits in which the state is a party during the preceding state fiscal year.  The information in the report shall be reported without identifying specific individuals.  The report must specify:

    1. (1)  the amounts of time spent by the faculty or professional staff members in connection with that service;  and
    2. (2)  the names, cause numbers, and outcomes of the cases in which that service was rendered, including the amounts of:

      1. (A)  any judgments entered against the state;                               
      2. (B)  any prejudgment or postjudgment interest awarded against the state;  and
      3. (C)  any attorney's fees of another party ordered to be paid by the state.
  3. (c)  The attorney general and the president of each institution of higher education shall collect all necessary data for inclusion in the report required by this section.