Expert Witness

Q: " I have been doing expert witness work in this town for years. Lately a couple of other appraisers have been “marketing” themselves as experts after they took some class called “How to be an Expert”. So now they think they are qualified. I have been deposed more than 50 times and have testified in court a lot. It’s upsetting that these guys are taking work away from me. I was hired on a case recently and the issue is about how to determine highest and best use. I am very comfortable with the assignment and feel like I cannot only testify, I could teach a class on the subject. I laughed when I found out who the opposing expert was going to be. I told the attorney that hired me that this guy had no experience and that we would have no problems running over him.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this other guy’s report because I was sure I would be able to tear it to shreds, but even I had no idea how easy it would be to discredit him. I found out from a buddy of mine that this opposing “expert” has been posting on a message board asking other appraisers to help him out with his expert assignment. Are you kidding me? I am drafting a complaint to the State Board right now and I am wondering if you have any other ideas about the kind of action I might be able to take to shut these guys down and to keep him from misleading other people into thinking that they are qualified “experts”.

A: I appreciate your frustration at the fact that people might be taking business away from you, but I would urge you to refrain from taking any action, at least at this point in time. I think this is an issue for your client to deal with. You can provide the information you have to the attorney that hired you and let him decide how best to handle it. The attorney may prefer to stay silent right now. That could give him a chance to impeach the opposing expert later. Right now, this is about your client and about this case. As upset as you might be, this is not about you taking down competitors. In fact, if you act without disclosing this to your client, you might give the other side a chance to hire a new expert. That might not be in the best interests of your client and his interests have to come before your interests, at least for now. Please do not do anything until you speak to your client.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?