How to get experts ready for Discovery

If most disputes are settled on the court house steps – I’ve seen 94% mentioned, one source said 98% – then the mistakes experts make during investigating and reporting are the ones that must be found out and corrected. This as compared to how tidy their CV looks, for example, or their demeanor and how well they answer questions during Discovery.

I would think the report is the hard evidence on the cause of the failure or accident, particularly if it’s been peer-reviewed. I repeat, if it’s been peer-reviewed. Wouldn’t this carry the day even if the expert messes up during Discovery?

The different categories of mistakes experts make and the numbers within each category have been identified, yet guidance for experts by different groups has emphasized report writing. There are lots of manuals out there including one big book that is 560 pages long, as well as guidance for experts by the judicial process on writing an opinion. It seems to me that says something wrt report writing.

I was prompted to comment on this when I saw the topic for the upcoming conference in St. Andrews, New Brunswick by the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association (APTLA). It’s comprehensive and the speakers cover a lot on preparing an expert for Discovery – I wish I was free to attend – but it seems light on the expert’s Achilles heel – his report.

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, May 31, 2022.   

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