Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Midwinter Meeting - D1 Breakfast Program - Getting it Right Early: Expert Retention Best Practices

It's no secret that construction disputes frequently involve one or more expert witnesses on each side. Our Division 1 panel -- Joshua B. Levy of Husch Blackwell LLP and Bill Manginelli and Mary Jay Torres-Martin both from Trauner Consulting Services, Inc. -- offered some best practices for those expert engagements starting at the initial meeting through the expert's trial testimony.

Joshua Levy and Bill Manginelli

Using a creative presentation approach (and apropos for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics), Joshua, Bill, and Mary Jay set the scene for a dispute between Olympic Mechanical and Bobsled Contractors over the mechanical subcontractor's claimed costs for extra work and delay.  Joshua served as counsel for the defendant Bobsled Contractors and Bill was Bobsled's expert.  Over the course of three acts marshaled by Mary Jay, Joshua and Bill held mock meetings to discuss the claims, exchange of documentation, initial opinions, written reports, and preparation for depositions and trial. The pair offered important and practical reminders to ensure the expert testimony will meet the requirements of the rules of evidence and civil procedure.  As a coda to the presentation, Eric J. Meier also from Husch Blackwell LLP, played the opposing expert for Olympic and faced stiff cross-examination from Joshua.  This mock cross-examination illustrated the worst case scenario if best (or even good) practices for preparing experts are not followed.  

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