Credentials Of Expert Witnesses

Date: October 20, 2010
Posted In: DLP Law

Tom had always wanted to have a pond on his property and he saw an advertisement from the Crystal Clear Pond Excavation Company which looked interesting. Tom called the company and they came out and surveyed his property and presented Tom with a price to build a half-acre pond. Tom paid the cost but unfortunately the pond kept going dry.

Tom became very frustrated with Crystal Clear\’s inability to fix the situation. He consulted with Clever Carl, a local expert on pond building. Carl had built many ponds over the years and quickly pointed out to Tom that the job was not done right for a number of reasons including faulty excavation. Tom had no recourse but to bring a law suit against Crystal Clear.

During the trial Crystal Clear\’s lawyers argued that Tom\’s expert, Clever Carl, had no engineering degree or higher education and therefore should not be able to testify regarding the deficiencies in the construction of the pond. Crystal Clear had two engineers who testified that the problem was not the construction, but the lack of adequate rainfall.

ISSUE: Will Tom\’s expert be able to testify even though he does not have a formal higher education?

ANSWER: Yes. Clearly Clever Carl had much experience in the building of ponds. As it turns out, the jury accepted Clever Carl\’s opinion over that of the two highly educated engineers. The jury felt it was too bad the engineers let their schooling get in the way of their education.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.