Jump to content

Expert Witness Info


MMustola
 Share

Recommended Posts

I hoping to get some questions answered from some of you experts regarding expert witness work.

Who is normally your client, an attorney or an individual?

On your initial inspection of the property are your reports more thorough than they would be for a pre-purchase inspection? I am asking this because I seems that the report would need a lot of references to back up your opinion. With a pre-purchase inspection it is fine to say, this is wrong because of this and I recommend that you have it repaired. How much more detail do you include in expert witness reports?

How much more time do you spend on reports for this type of work verses pre-purchase home inspections. Does anyone have an agreement they would be willing to let me look at?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark, every case/situation is different. Sometimes the attorney is my client and then sometimes the defendant or plaintiff is the client. Lately I have had several law firms hiring me to see if they even have a chance to proceed with a case. They want to know up front if the case is a lost cause.

As for the report. Well, it all depends on what the lawsuit is about. What are they trying to prove or defend. If it is the defence of a home inspector, the first thing you start with is the inspector report. Most of the time the problems are with the report or lack of reporting. Then you visit the house in question. Review the findings. Before anything is put in writing you talk with your client and or attorney. They might not want a report at this time or at all. It depends on what you tell them. It has to do with a little thing called "discovery".

Again it all depends on the case. You can't compare normal home inspection inspections to EW work.

I have spent a couple of days writing and rewriting an EW report, but then I have also spent only a couple of hours writing an EW report.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spoke to a friend of mine that wrote a manual on how be an expert witness. He sells it for around $25. If you want to contact him, send me a PM and I will provide you with his info.

In general, my experience is that if you qualify as an expert, it pays better than home inspecting.

I was recently told that a decent lawyer in NYC is billing $750-$1000 an hour. Well known "Name" lawyers are billing up to $2500 an hour. Litigation pays well!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by MMustola

I hoping to get some questions answered from some of you experts regarding expert witness work.

Who is normally your client, an attorney or an individual?

Almost always the individual. Lawyers mostly take money. They don't give it.

On your initial inspection of the property are your reports more thorough than they would be for a pre-purchase inspection?

It usually doesn't make sense to do a standard home inspection. I focus on the issue at hand. That way, my customer doesn't end up paying me to do stuff that he really doesn't need to have done.

I am asking this because I seems that the report would need a lot of references to back up your opinion. With a pre-purchase inspection it is fine to say, this is wrong because of this and I recommend that you have it repaired. How much more detail do you include in expert witness reports?

I report in the same manner as I do on a standard home inspection -- just with narrower focus. If I feel like I need to include more detail, I do. But that's rare. You can save the minutia for the deposition.

How much more time do you spend on reports for this type of work verses pre-purchase home inspections.

It takes more time, but not a lot. I always do this work on an hourly arrangement.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of times I have had a potential client call and say something Like "I bought a home and it has a lot of stuff wrong and my attorney said the first thing I should do is get a home inspection". Under this example would you conduct a standard home Inspection? The client may have a list of complaints but may not know all that is wrong with the house.

How detailed would this type of report be? For example if there was a problem with the vinyl siding would you at this time site code references and installation specs from VSI or would you save that level of detail for depositions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

I am only 50or so miles away and spend 80% of my time doing E/W stuff. The younger guys do the majority of the inspections now, except for the past customers of mine that still want the old fart!

Mich and Fla have very similiar consumer law and they are quite different from all other states.

The general concepts from other the inspectors are valid, however you and I have some perculiar hoops to jump through.

Scott and Jim have been blessed with the right personality for E/W work. It requires a very thick skin, better verbal skills than writing skills, and a working knowledge of the court you are working for; all e/w is done for a "court" in Michigan per court rules.

Your client will nearly always be the plaintif and you usually will be paid by them and usually through the atty's office.

Never - Ever, do the work and bill the client in this state. The one exception is depositions by supoena.

Give me a call and promise me a free coffee and I will give you the real skinny!

ps: listen to all the posters here, but remember that most are not in Mich.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speak with a local attorney first.

Their is expert witness work and there is consultant work.

Consultants are normally hired by the attorneys and in most states they have attorney client privilege.

Experts are hired by the attorney or the client and not only do they have NO atty/client privilege but they need to keep great records.

I will be co-teaching two different classes at Inspection World in January, one is on Forensic consultant work and the other is on Expert witness.

Disclosure: I will be paid to teach the classes, however my pay is not based on the number of students in the class. If you are coming to IW and you are not code certified, I recommend taking the class by Hansen & Drenan on the 2006 IRC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Les,

I say this with the utmost respect for you:

Be careful with statements like "Most states".

Here in the southwest it is as I described.

A Expert Witness can be deposed, questioned on the stand, and has to disclose everything that they used to form their expert opinion.

A consultant can work for the attorney advising them of the good and bad in the case and is protected by attorney client privilege.

I had a case where I was contacted by an attorney and he said he wanted to hire me as an expert, I suggested we start with me as a consultant and then I could become an expert if we needed to go that route.

I reviewed the inspectors report and performed a site visit. Afterward I called the attorney and said, I have good news and bad news. The good news is we can defend against the items the buyer complained about. The bad news is that this house is a wreak and if I was the other sides expert your client would be buying this home.

The attorney thanked me and said I am glad you are a consultant, I would hate to have to let the other side question you. Then he wrote me a check.[:D]

In federal court an expert has to disclose and provide copies of all cases they have provided an expert opinion on for the lase ten years.

Yes that says HAS TO... There is no attorney client privilege there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Les, Thanks for the generous offer. I will take you up on it after the first of the year when you get back from the national convention and have some time.

Steven, I sent you a PM but did not hear back for you. Maybe you just have not been on the board in a few days. I would like the contact information for your friend who wrote the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by MMustola

Les, Thanks for the generous offer. I will take you up on it after the first of the year when you get back from the national convention and have some time.

Steven, I sent you a PM but did not hear back for you. Maybe you just have not been on the board in a few days. I would like the contact information for your friend who wrote the book.

Let me know if you got my PM, otherwise Email me at my website listed on my profile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...