Time to Unmask Dr. Harron
News Service Aug. 28, 2009, 9:30am
Before a judge and jury can accept the testimony of an expert witness, they have to know who that person is. Without knowing the expert's credentials and standing in the field, they have no way to determine if courtroom testimony is genuinely authoritative and unbiased.
Imagine a so-called expert witness taking the stand with a mask on his face and refusing to provide his name. Would the testimony of "Dr. Anonymous" be taken seriously?
Suppose, on the other hand, that an expert witness does identify himself and swears to his authoritative status, but excludes a raft of significant information that undermines that authority -- such as a long and lucrative history of shilling for the trial bar. Surely, judge and jury have a right to weigh his alleged expertise against discrediting details.
Not according to Bridgeport radiologist Ray Harron. Harron's just a good old country doctor from West Virginia, and the millions he's made testifying for attorneys filing dubious asbestos suits is simply irrelevant, a court motion contends.
In the past he has been chastised by a Texas judge for his shady methods. Judgments on behalf of plaintiffs have been thrown out because of his tainted testimony. He lost his license in seven states and has taken the Fifth before a Congressional investigative committee. But why bring that up, the court is being asked.
Harron filed a motion Aug. 20 seeking to preclude CSX Transportation from raising these issues in a fraud trial set to begin in U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp's courtroom on Sept. 15.
As reported in The West Virginia Record, CSX alleges that Harron conspired with Pittsburgh lawyers Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond to fabricate an asbestos lawsuit for CSX employee Earl Baylor. CSX believes that Harron's shady past is relevant to the case at hand.
Not surprisingly, Harron and his personal attorney, Jerald Jones of Clarksburg, disagree.
We're no experts, but we think it's time to unmask Dr. Harron and let judge, jury, and the people of West Virginia find out who he really is.