How do expert witnesses make themselves vulnerable to effective cross-examination?
Attorney John Delany III explains.
Q. Attorney Delany, where are expert witnesses most vulnerable on cross-examination?
(1) Prior testimony, articles and reports,
(2) Not knowing the entire file, relevant evidence ,latest studies ,or having complete records,
(3) Assumptions that are wrong,
(4) Going out side their areas of expertise,
(5) Be to much of an advocate , especially if their experience is totally Plaintiff or defendant
Q. What kinds things on expert witnesses’ websites get them into trouble?
(1). Marketing statements, promotional materials,
(2). Being a jack of all trades,
(3). Listing results of case verdicts or outcomes,
(4). Be prepared to defend anything on the site,
(5). Colleagues from your organization that take opposing views
Q. How do you deal with the polite soft-spoken expert witness on cross-examination?
(1). You must be courteous, polite back rely on substance to cross the expert
(2). Judo, use his politeness to agree with you , inch by inch take him down your path – if he does not go ,you then have conflict, or get him to agree that reasonable people can differ on a point and have him go over why the other side may take a countervailing position
If he does not go down the path then get him take a different view then your expert and get it to be very detailed – this will force him to be the all and knowing expert or to uncover his basis –n the infallible expert (ie the Pope ). Once you do that then sum it all up. It will outline conflict
Just finished a trial last week in Philly and spoke to the jurrors afterwards about the experts and they made it clear that they did not like the attorneys or experts being rude, evasive, dis respectful to each other , etc.
Q. Should expert witnesses push back during their cross-examination?
Only when appropriate, that discretion on when and how to do it distinguishes the truly great experts from the mediocre ones. Your expert needs to show conviction and passion as to what they believe in, and then needs to show the basis of that belief.
Attorney Delany will be speaking at the SEAK National Expert Witness Conference to be held on May 3-4, 2014 in Orlando, FL.
Destroying Expert Witnesses: How Lawyers Use Weaknesses of Experts
John Delany III, Esq.
One of experts’ worst nightmares is being “destroyed” during cross-examination. Attorney Delany will explain and demonstrate how lawyers capitalize on the weaknesses of experts and help them implode. He will discuss websites, facts and assumptions, withheld information, and other areas where experts are particularly vulnerable during cross-examination. Attorney Delany will offer practical suggestions for experts to insulate themselves from these kinds of frontal assaults by counsel.
John Delany III, Esq. is a founding partner of Delany & O’Brien and is a member of the PA, NJ and NY State and Federal Bars. He is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (member) Vice Chair of the toxic Tort Section, author, editor, lecturer, catastrophic claims trial attorney, National Counsel for numerous product manufacturers and a PA/NJ Super Lawyer 2006-20 12. Over 80 major jury trials to a conclusion, 100s of bench, arbitration and mediation cases resolved, over a billion dollars in construction claim cases resolved, over 3.5 billion dollars in toxic torts cases resolved and hundreds of millions of dollars in products, fire loss and transportation cases resolved. He has a concentration in high profile, high stakes litigation against the most prominent plaintiff’s attorneys in the country. He has published and/or presented for Defense Research Institute (DRI), Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC), American Bar Association (TIPS), Mealey’s LexisNexis, RB Litigation, Emerging and Environmental Claims Managers Association (EECMA), and The National Forum for Environmental & Toxic Tort Issues (FETTI.)