Your browser is currently set to block JavaScript.

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

After enabling javascript, please refresh the page to go back to experts.com site with full functionality

Would you turn off/on JavaScript?

It's a widely used language that makes the web what it is today, allowing for websites to be more responsive, dynamic, and interactive. Disabling JavaScript takes websites back to a time when they were simple documents without any other features.

What are the advantages of using JavaScript?

Speed. Since JavaScript is an 'interpreted' language, it reduces the time required by other programming languages like Java for compilation. JavaScript is also a client-side script, speeding up the execution of the program as it saves the time required to connect to the server.

banner ad
Experts Logo

articles

How Independent Is Your Expert?

By: Michael Garibaldi, CPA, ABV, CFF, CGMA
Tel: 516-288-7400
Email Mr. Garibaldi


View Profile on Experts.com.


It may be detrimental to an expert witness's credibility if even the appearance of a lack of independence exists. In today's legal environment, discrediting an expert based on his or her relationship with counsel, the client or the judge is common. Let's examine how to identify an expert's independence.

Standard Procedures To Identify Independence

Consider the following four procedures to verify your expert's independence:

  1. Ask the expert to contact all members of his or her firm to make certain that no member has potentially problematic relationships with any party involved in the case. These relationships may include:
    • Financial, such as partners in other businesses,
    • Family, either directly or by law, and
    • Any close personal relationships.
  2. Avoid billing relationships that are not your expert's standard practice. These may include premium billing rates or fixed-fee retainers regardless of actual time spent.
  3. Identify previous services provided to any party in interest.
  4. Keep in mind that if your expert typically represents only one side of an issue, he or she may lack independence. For instance, an expert who works only for plaintiffs or only for spouses employed outside the home could present the appearance of a lack of independence.

Naturally, the larger the firm, the more difficult the task of proving independence. And in smaller markets independence just may not be possible. But procedures should be in place to identify potential issues.

Even if the expert has determined he or she has no conflict of interest, the expert should disclose to you all relationships, past and present, with all parties that might appear to affect independence.

Turn an Expert Into a Consultant

What if your potential expert witness has great credentials but also independence issues? Consider using him or her as a financial consultant and finding another expert witness.

Using a financial consultant in addition to testifying experts gives you many advantages. As a consultant, the financial professional is free to act as an advocate for you and your client and to work actively toward a winning solution for your side. As an advocate, the consultant can pursue options that will provide the best results for your client and determine a strategy for achieving those results. With a financial advocate on the litigation team, the outcome of the case is more likely to provide positive results.

Can Your Expert Witness Pass the Independence Test?

Ultimately, you must decide whether a conflict of interest or an independence issue exists that may affect the ability to use your expert in court. A little protection up front can help you avoid serious repercussions down the road.


Michael J. Garibaldi, CPA, ABV, CFF, CGMA, has a strong background providing efficient and affordable solutions to the many complex issues facing the legal profession today. A Certified Public Accountant licensed by the State of New York, Mr. Garibaldi is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). He is recognized as a Chartered Global Management Accountant by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

©Copyright - All Rights Reserved

DO NOT REPRODUCE WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION BY AUTHOR.

Related articles

michael-levine-dea-expert-photo.jpg

7/8/2006· Expert Witnessing

Blind Mules—Fiction or Fact?

By: Michael Levine

On January 12, 2000, Gloria Cespedes-Cano and her teenaged daughter Sandra1 stepped through the doors of the LACSA (Costa Rican national airline) baggage department at John F. Kennedy International Airport and into a nightmare

susan-maccoy-photo.jpg

6/7/2013· Expert Witnessing

The Power of Perspective: Three Steps to a Powerful Expert Perspective

By: Susan Maccoy

I review all the depositions and documents taking reference to techniques, procedures, and timelines from the perspective of the neutral observer at the time of the event.

expert_placeholder

2/25/2011· Expert Witnessing

Because I Said So...Credentials vs Credibility

By: Russell E. Carlson

Remember when you were a kid? Remember when Mom or Dad told you to eat the asparagus?

;
Experts.com-No broker Movie Ad

Follow us

linkedin logo youtube logo rss feed logo