ConstructionPro Week, Volume: 5 - Issue: 33 - 08/26/2016

Can a Claimant’s Principal Serve as an Expert Witness?

By Bruce Jervis

 

An expert witness is qualified by virtue of education, professional credentials and experience, which enable that individual to understand a specialized matter that a fact finder might otherwise not fully comprehend. While expert opinion is offered in support of one side or the other to a dispute, the opinion is expected to be objective and impartial.

 

It was therefore startling when a Louisiana appellate court recently upheld the admission of expert testimony from the principal of a construction company in support of his company’s payment claim against a project owner. The individual possessed the requisite expert credentials – but objectivity?

 

In fairness, it must be noted that the claim was heard by a trial judge without a jury. A judge has great discretion to weigh the credibility of testimony, expert or otherwise, in light of the evident lack of impartiality. But still, does it ever make sense to allow a principal or employee to testify as an expert, regardless of the forum? Your comments are welcomed.

 

COMMENTS

An expert witness is a person whose opinion by virtue of education, training, certification, skills or experience, is accepted by the judge as an expert. The expert is testifying on a specific matter, addressing the (scientific, technical, or other) opinion about evidence or about facts before the court within the expert's area of expertise. Any other impartiality / credibility of the expert is outside the box as long as the expert was qualified by the judge for the subject matter.
Posted by: Benny Bercovicz - Friday, August 26, 2016 12:06 PM


 









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