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The Expert Witness

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Majestic1981
Words 446
Pages 2
We meet some interesting characters in this topic. As Dalton indicates, the security profession can continue to suffer frustration and a lack of customer trust to the extent this area is not properly addressed.

Describe the Expert Witness Trap, i.e. cause, problems generated, and how to prevent it.

In litigation, we typically assume that there are two types of witnesses: the fact witness who has direct knowledge of the issues in the case and the expert witness who will use his/her specialized knowledge, skill and experience to assist the judge and the jury to understand the evidence. Most of the time these two witnesses are changed into an expert in a particular field who has first hand knowledge or involvement in the basic facts. This type of witness is called the expert witness. Calling in an expert witness can have pros and cons for the organization. The expert witness can be held in favor of the security manager but in the end the expert witness works for the courts.

I think the key to deterrence of loss from the Expert Witness Trap is to first have the credentials and awareness to decrease or exclude the need for one in the first place. The experts should remained focused in various areas of the job and be able to easily communicate their education, experience and abilities. Then, when an expert witness is required, the Security Manager should be able to carefully review a pool of experts, interview them and eventually select ones that are appropriate for their situations. It is critical that such experts are ordered and there is a method to file complaints and pass along experiences through a formal ranking system.

To avoid such traps individuals should take note of the following items:

Witness’ Status: Determine the witness’ status early in the litigation. The fact that a witness has a particular expertise does not necessarily make her a hybrid witness.

Timing: Not only should the identity of the expert witness be disclosed, but a summary of his/her opinions must be turned over during the expert disclosure period as well.

Identify the Subject Matter: Clearly identify the subject matter requiring opinion testimony.

Burden: The party seeking to provide a summary report and not a complete report bears the burden of demonstrating that the witness is an expert witness and not one retained to give expert testimony.

Attorney-Client Privilege/Work-Product Protection: The contours of what is protected from discovery are still undefined. Be prepared for discovery disputes and motion practice around those communications.

Rule 37 Sanctions: Failure to comply could include striking the opinion testimony or striking the witness in her entirety.

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