Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Expert's Gut Feeling Good Enough?

From the BullsEye Blog: "Although expert opinions must be based in fact, they are still individualized opinions and are occasionally, as the New Jersey Appellate Court stated on July 5, based on an expert’s “gut feeling”.

In a construction claim case involving real estate valuation, expert witness J. Anthony Dowling admitted to basing his opinion on a “feeling of costs”. The testimony in Nevins v. Toll Brothers, Inc. reveals that approximately 90 percent of Dowling’s cost estimations were “gut feelings” without any data tying them to the plaintiff’s specific location or project. You can read a portion of the exchange between defense counsel and Dowling in this blog post on the decision.

Because Dowling is a professional construction cost estimator and has sufficient credentials to serve as an expert witness, the appeals court found his opinion to be valid testimony. The other factor influencing the decision was the precedent of similar testimony admitted in a similar case.

Despite this ruling, other cases suggest there is a trend toward requiring a more factual basis for expert testimony. Numerous cases have addressed the issue of what is, and is not, admissible testimony according to the Federal Rules of Evidence, Daubert and other standards. The common theme is a demand for more detail and more specific analysis related to the facts of the case.

Click here to read the whole article. Expert services for imaging, video, audio, and cell phone analysis can be found here.

Enjoy.

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