The opposing side’s expert could be the most crucial deposition in a lawsuit. A successful deposition can significantly impact a case. It could assist in setting up for a motion to exclude all or some of the expert’s opinions, and potentially have the opposing party rethinking the strength of their argument, their expert witness, or the merits of their claim/defense. The possible impact of an opposing side’s expert deposition means it is vital to prepare.
When Taking an Effective Expert Deposition: Attempt to show the expert opinion is not grounded in the facts of the case. Carefully review the documents considered by the expert and see if any critical info on the record was disregarded. If so, these areas can be the basis for compelling cross-examination. Get it on the record that the expert did not consider essential facts of the case as well as getting the expert’s unprepared testimony on the issue. Even if the expert discloses materials as having been reviewed, they may have relied heavily on opinions of consulting experts without studying the actual documents very carefully. Confronting the expert witness with specific details or documents could elicit testimony that is not credible in the face of the evidence on record.
Attempt to Limit the Scope of the Expert Opinion: Try to narrow the scope of the expert’s anticipated testimony or weaken the testimony, if possible. For instance, try to limit the expert’s opinion to specific vital assumptions that can be disproved through other witnesses that will subsequently render the expert opinion meaningless or at least far less weighty in terms of the case.
Undermine the Expert’s Credibility or the Expert’s Opinions: One way to call the credibility of an expert’s opinion into question is to point out that the opinions they offer on the case are in contradiction to or inconsistent with prior views they provided in the past. Carefully review available articles, testimony, and any available public statements to prepare. Another way to challenge the credibility of the expert’s opinion is to present it as radical. You can often do this by urging the expert to apply test their thought pattern in alternative scenarios (real or hypothetical) that a fact-finder would find unpersuasive.
Test how strongly the expert defends their opinions. A deposition is a chance to test the expert to see how they will be perceived by a judge and jury. Conduct a cross-examination as you would at trial and see how they respond/defend their opinions. You want to know how the expert will come across to the fact-finder. You may discover that they refuse to answer questions, appear evasive or arrogant. Knowing how they will present in a courtroom is very helpful in developing your trial strategy.
Preparing for the deposition of the opposing side’s experts can seem overwhelming and stressful, but with the help of an experienced litigation attorney from Aronow Law PC, you can feel confident that the expert witness deposition will be handled professionally and effectively.