Monthly Archives: August 2011

I’m back!

Sorry the blog’s been unattended for a little while. In the last three weeks I’ve had a daughter and been through an earthquake and a hurricane. So things have been a little busy. But now I am back and you can expect this blog to be updated regularly.

While I’m here, I have an announcement. I will be speaking at the Maryland Association for Justice’s Fall Auto Negligence Seminar on Novenber 11, 2011. I will be speaking about obtaining financial interest bias discovery from defense expert witnesses after the Court of Appeals of Maryland’s decision in Falik v. Hornage (a case I briefed and argued).

This is a great day-long seminar. My colleague Rod Gaston will be speaking about claims before the Maryland Insurance Administration alleging a lack of good faith, and the Hon. Howard Chasanow will be talking about alternative dispute resolution. I am sure they will be adding other topics as well so sign up now!

Yet Another Tip For Cross-Examining Defense Experts

This one is courtesy of Dorothy Clay Sims. We often see expert witnesses with resumes three feet thick, full of impressive-sounding credentials like faculty appointments, society memberships, and consulting gigs. But how accurate is that expert’s C.V.?

Often, it pays to ask. Just recently, I found three inaccuracies on a defense expert’s C.V.

First, he listed himself as an instructor at a national judicial college and a guest lecturer at a local law school from “1990-present.” So I did some research. I found out that the national judicial college hadn’t even offered the course he taught in the last two years. I found out that the law school did not list him in the faculty directory (where even part-time and adjunct faculty are listed). When asked, he admitted that he hadn’t done either of these things in at least the last five years.

He listed himself as a “consultant” to the Maryland Worker’s Compensation Commission- at an address ten years out of date. His explanation was that he doesn’t go there very often. I guess they don’t send him mail much, either.

Now, is this a silver bullet that takes out an expert’s credibility with one shot? Of course not. But if you can show the expert has misrepresented his qualifications, even a little, it’s a great beginning for sowing seeds of doubt in the mind of the fact-finder. This is especially true if you can build upon this theme in the rest of the cross. How objective is the guy who embellishes (or lies) on his resume? Can you really trust his opinions? These are the questions you want in the mind of the fact-finder.