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How to Effectively Depose an Economic Expert Witness

Economic expert witnesses may be relied upon in a variety of cases. They may help determine the amount of damages that an architectural defect caused, how much income a personal injury victim will suffer because of the injury or devise the lost expected business revenue due to a breach of contract, among many other tasks. For one side to effectively depose the opponent’s economic expert, he or she should consider doing the following,:

Review Publications of the Economist

Many economists have written documents that may commit them to one argument. For example, they may write in academic journals, magazines or other publications. Also, consider obtaining previous reports, depositions and expert testimony that he or she gave in previous cases. These documents may include positions that are contrary to the stance that they make during a deposition.

Obtain a Copy of the Economist’s Report

The economic expert witness likely prepared a report that outlines his or her findings in a written format. The report should carefully identify important points that were considered and provide information about the way that the economic expert made certain monetary findings. With this report, the lawyer or his or her own expert witness may review the report and verify the formulas and computations
that were used. If there are errors in this report, this information may also provide helpful at trial or during settlement negotiations. The lawyer can also examine the overall methodology that the economic expert relied upon.

Ask About Prior Cases

Many juries are hesitant about believing an expert witness who is constantly testifying in cases for pay. They may believe that the expert’s opinion is for sale and may not trust him or her. Also, a lawyer who deposes the expert on this specific area may help identify other cases so that he or she can review the transcript and find any inconsistencies between the prior cases and the current one to use against the expert at trial.

Review Curriculum Vitae

The lawyer should verify all information on an expert’s curriculum vitae and resume. Some experts have been discovered to have lied about certain education that they claimed to have had. They may overstate their experience to make themselves more desired in the expert witness arena. The lawyer may get the expert to commit to the information in these documents, which may be used against him or her later at trial.

Pin Down Analysis

It is important to understand exactly how the economic expert arrived at certain values. He or she may be able to explain how he or she used the life expectancy of the victim to determine certain damages. However, there may be information that is missing in this analysis, such as a medical condition that the person had prior to the event that resulted in litigation. Likewise, the economic expert may be asked about various other aspects of damage calculations, such as growth rates, worklife expectancy, discount rates and other matters.

Check for Alternative Computations

The lawyer may also want to ask about other ways that other economic experts may evaluate the case and which types of formulas and processes they may have used to get to a different result.

Consider Strategy

It is important for a lawyer deposing an expert witness to consider his or her intended strategy. If the lawyer wants to learn more about the support that the economist used for his or her findings, he or she may want to go easier and ask questions that seek to clarify information. If the lawyer believes that the case will settle, he or she may be aggressive in order to try to get as much traction as possible in order to minimize the damages that the lawyer’s client ultimately takes. If he or she wants the economic expert witness to deposition testimony, he or she may try to get the expert to make very affirmative statements. The lawyer may then investigate ways to challenge these opinions later at trial.

Contact an Economic Expert Witness

One of the most effective ways to depose an economic expert is to have your own expert upon whom you can rely. He or she can evaluate the expert’s report and previous testimony to determine if there are errors in the expert’s analysis. He or she can identify possible ways to challenge the economic expert’s opinion to strengthen the deposition. An economic expert witness can help identify relevant economic points and help prepare questions for the deposition.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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