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Working With Our Experts
We take an active role in working with our own experts. We recommend the right expert for the job, then using our technical knowledge, we direct the expert to ensure that he stays on track and on budget. We help our clients avoid unproductive tests and premature written reports.
But the real benefit to having a subrogation lawyer with an engineering background is that I can penetrate the surface and ensure that our expert's opinions are well developed and supported. Most experts work alone and do not have a sounding board to test their opinions. I act as that sounding board. On several occasions, my substantive discussions with experts have exposed significant weaknesses that we were able to fix before the report was issued or the expert was deposed.
Working With Their Experts
Lawyers are taught not to challenge opposing experts on the substance of their opinions, just to challenge the facts on which the opinions are based. With our technical knowledge, we reject that approach, and tackle opposing experts head on. This comprehensive approach has produced some impressive results:
° A Ph.D. electrical engineer, who went into his deposition insisting that his client had not violated the ground fault provisions in the National Electric Code, did a complete about-face in his deposition.
We got him to admit that he incorrectly applied the NEC and that by proper application of the code, his client should have provided ground fault protection in the 1000 amp motor control center that served a sand and gravel plant.
° We overcame a utility company's defense in a case involving a fire in a pad-mounted transformer that spread to the building. We blamed the utility company for setting the transformer too close to the building.
The utility company blamed "Mother Nature" and a phenomenon called "zero sequence stray flux heating" in which expanding and contracting magnetic fields induce current flow in conductive metals.
In depositions, we got the utility company's experts to admit that they had no basis for concluding that stray flux heating had occurred in this instance. Under threat of a Daubert motion, the case settled.
° A mechanical engineer who invented a central air circulating system for a plastic injection molding plant started his deposition insisting that his system was not susceptible to a reversal of airflow direction.
In his deposition, we persuaded him that he was wrong and that the reverse was easily preventable. After the deposition, the inventor complimented us on our "command of the technical issues in the case".
° Using Daubert as sword rather than a shield, we persuaded a federal court to preclude opposing experts from testifying in a case involving a fire in an electric discharge machine.
° By penetrating deposition questioning, we have neutralized opposing experts, prompting defense counsel to abandon them before trial.
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