Cases are frequently won – or lost – based on expert testimony. Chilivis Grubman attorneys have extensive experience in a wide range of complex criminal and civil matters involving expert opinion testimony, including topics such as forensic accounting, handwriting, business valuations, and professional standards of care.
Several helpful tips
(1) Carefully examine and select your expert early on. Start the process of selecting your expert as soon as possible. Make sure your expert has the requisite qualifications and familiarity with the subject matter. Thoroughly investigate the expert’s history. Has he ever testified before? Has he ever been disqualified? There are many excellent resources available to help you do your due diligence.
(2) Ask the right questions. Consider how you will use the expert. Will she testify or just consult? What issues require expert testimony in the case? Will the expert be used to give affirmative opinions? Will she be used to attack the opposing expert?
(3) Consider your budget. Can you afford to hire an expert? Can you afford not to hire an expert? Involve an expert as early in the process as you can.
(4) Know the Court. Trial Judges are vested with wide discretion in considering a challenge to an expert, so research how your Judge has handled Daubert challenges in the past. Also pay attention to the local rules—in some courts a party must satisfy a checklist.
(5) Be proactive — “A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.” Work closely with the expert to understand the bases for the opinion and the methodology. Apply the standards in Rule 702 rigorously. Spot any analytical gaps in the expert’s reasoning, such as factual assumptions or logical leaps, and make sure those are addressed. If the gap is too wide, the expert’s opinion could be excluded. See, e.g. Chapman v. Proctor & Gamble Distributing, LLC, 766 F.3d 1296 (11th Cir. 2014) (expert opinion on general and specific causation excluded in product liability case); United States v. Frazier, 387 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2004) (en banc) (excluding expert’s opinion as ipse dixit).
(6) Fix any problems as soon as possible. Deficiencies may be curable, but there is no guarantee that a Court will let an expert supplement the opinion to cure deficiencies, especially if it is late in the case. And even if you can supplement the report, keep in mind that the opposing side may exploit that.
If you need to speak to an attorney, please contact us online or by calling (404) 233-4171 today.