Nov 5, 2014

Many times an attorney thinks to themselves, "Gee, if I hire more experts to go to trial I'm going to be doing better for my client. If I hire an expert that can explain, let's say, economic losses of a client, that's a creative argument that a jury will really embrace, an economic expert to talk about the economic losses." That can be a really good thing, and a good lawyer knows when to go out and hire an expert to help the jury understand.

Oftentimes the type of expert we hire can make a difference. Sometimes the category of expert we hire, we end up regretting. An economist is being hired and maybe paid 5 or $6,000 by a law firm to try to figure out economic losses that they can then come to trial and testify about. Why this is a scam, and it happens a lot, and your lawyer needs to watch this, is the economist then realizes tax returns don't show a loss, so they then interview the client, and the client tells them "Well, I can't do the same amount of sales that I used to, and so I'm going to need to hire a salesperson. I don't plan on doing that until after the trial but that's what I'm going to do, is I'm going to hire a salesperson. I'm not as good around the office anymore so I'm going to need to hire an office person to do more of the work in the office, too. I plan on hiring that person after the trial."

I've never seen a jury buy that kind of analysis. Juries know better. This person is coming to work everyday and still working, and did for years afterwards, and there's been no real appreciable difference in the profit or loss of the company, but somehow the jury is supposed to believe that this person can't work anymore, needs to pull out of the work, and would be replaced by two different people that now is going to have a payroll into the future.

It's paper thin, and worse, it's been my experience that kind of economic report will blow up in your face. Suddenly a jury who would go down partially down the road with you suddenly feels like you've been lying to them the whole time. Just like any other time as a human being where somebody looks to you in the face and lies, you start questioning what other things might they be lying about. A perfectly legitimate, very good injury case can be worth nothing, and even a defense verdict, if you bring sham kind of experts in to show them paper thin results like that.

I like to think that juries are pretty smart, and it's been my experience that juries are pretty smart. I know my opposing counsels are smart and will point these sort of things out. But I also know that there are people who are not paying attention, that are hiring experts to create paper thin reports like this, to pad the pockets of the economists and are jeopardizing their own clients' cases. If you have questions about this kind of conduct, I'm happy to talk you.

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