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Making Effective Use of Experts in Business Litigation

When a business disagreement ends up in court, the issues to be resolved are usually complex. Disputes can relate not only to what happened factually but also to the impact on the parties’ financial situations and the consequent liabilities that arise. Expert witnesses play a critical role in helping parties, attorneys and decision makers to gain an accurate assessment of all relevant aspects of a commercial dispute and of the damages that may be recoverable.

Generally, the more complicated the subject matter involved in the litigation, the more an expert is needed. Experts are used in business litigation cases to analyze financial data, make valuations of a business and assess a business’s lost profits in order to determine damages. Experts are also used in cases that require understanding of technology related to a product design, a manufacturing process or another arcane subject. An expert who is part of the particular industry or technical field can be called to give explanations. These experts are often used in disputes over intellectual property.

Expert testimony can be a powerful element of persuading a jury about the merits of a party’s position. The expert cannot make factual statements but can provide explanations that link fact witnesses’ testimony to the issues of liability asserted. 

There are multiple positive actions that can promote the effective use of experts in a case. Here is a short list:

  1. Choose someone whose expertise can be documented — The first hurdle in any case is to have the person qualified as an expert in the relevant field. This means presenting a detailed overview of the expert’s qualifications and professional background.
  2. Involve the expert early in the case — The expert should collaborate with your attorney to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your position and to develop a strategic approach that aligns with your legal arguments and objectives.
  3. Make the testimony helpful —Work with the expert to develop testimony that is clear and easily understandable to a non-expert audience. Focus on communicating key points that support your case without getting overly technical. 
  4. Prepare for cross-examination and rebuttal — Anticipate ways that the opposing attorney might cross-examine your expert. Also make sure your expert is prepared to rebut expert testimony presented by the opposing party, highlighting any weaknesses and providing alternative perspectives.
  5. Visual aids and demonstrations — If possible, use visual aids, charts, graphs or demonstrations to enhance the expert’s testimony and to make complex information more accessible to a lay audience. However, be careful not to present such materials as though they are evidence in themselves. 

By skillfully leveraging the expertise of your witness in commercial litigation, you can enhance your legal strategy and present a compelling case, whether in negotiations or at trial.

H. Clay Parker, Esq. in Orlando represents Florida companies in all types of business litigation matters, including contract and insurance disputes. Call 407-216-2504 or contact us onlineto schedule an appointment.

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    501 N. Magnolia Ave
    Orlando, Florida 32801
    Phone: 407-894-8440
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"My job is to maximize the economic outcome in a legal setting, while advancing your legal rights and cause." Attorney H. Clay Parker IV