2 Keys to Finding Weaknesses in an Opposing Expert’s Opinion
A key function of a financial expert is to provide effective rebuttal to the opposing expert’s analysis and opinions. Accordingly, counsel must gather foundational information about the opposition’s opinions, including a complete understanding of their methodology, information, sources, authorities and assumptions. Here are two key considerations:
1. Use the Deposition to Your Advantage
To ensure your expert witness has full knowledge of your case, ask him or her to prepare questions for the opposing expert’s deposition. You may even want your valuator to attend the deposition, in which case he or she should be familiar with, and be prepared to respond to, questions about the opposing expert’s opinions.If your expert doesn’t attend the deposition, make sure he or she reviews the opposing expert’s deposition transcript before trial to point out any weaknesses or inconsistencies with the expert’s written report.
2. Connect With the Case
Someone is bound to disagree with your expert’s opinions, so the key is to connect your expert’s opinions with the case at hand. The expert witness must show the judge and jury why a particular expert opinion applies to the case.This may also involve showing why the opposing expert’s views aren’t relevant to the case. It may be clear that the opposing expert is unfamiliar with the plaintiff’s industry, or that the particular expertise doesn’t pertain to the business under discussion.One valuable piece of information is the opposing expert’s workpaper file. Your camp might inspect the other expert’s files to uncover the documents reviewed, assumptions made and other underlying details of the work. This step can be especially fruitful if the report is brief, vague or hard to follow.Understanding the opposing expert’s testimony and report (if any) should be an important part of your expert’s work. In addition to clarifying his or her own financial analyses, your expert can also critique the opposition’s report — either formally in a rebuttal report or informally in a verbal discussion or a memo format. This critique will likely expose the other side’s technical flaws.These are just some of the factors that can affect the outcome of your case. The more you and your expert know about the opposing expert’s knowledge, methods and assumptions, the more effective your team will be in critiquing and responding to your analysis and opinions. Doeren Mayhew’s Valuation and Litigation Support Group offers consulting, forensic accounting, expert witness, economic loss and business valuation services to assist Troy, Houston and Ft. Lauderdale litigants.