When expert witnesses undergo a discovery deposition, what are the strategies and goals of opposing counsel?
Attorney Quentin Brogdon of the Law Offices of Frank Branson of Dallas, TX dealt with this issue at the SEAK Expert Witness Conference. Attorney Brogdon’s list of 23 discovery deposition goals included:
1. What the expert looks like and how he carries himself.
2. Background and all relevant specialized training and experience.
3. Opinions and bases for opinions.
4. Commit to final and complete opinions.
5. All reasons for opinions, and commitment to having provided all reasons.
6. Test strength of opinions by questions re: whether scenarios other than his might be possible.
7. Commit to no expertise and no opinions on certain issues.
8. Concede as many helpful things as possible, i.e., that your theory of case is reasonable alternative to his theory.
9. Narrow areas of disagreement.
10. Gather concessions for concise cross-examination at trial.
11. Bolster credentials and opinions of your witnesses.
12. Recognize learned treatises as authoritative.
13. Agree that real area of dispute is factual inquiry for jurors.
14. Criticize co-defendants of sponsoring defendant.
15. Lose credibility by defending outrageous conduct.
16. Render different opinions by varying assumptions.
17. Concede that the expert witness opinions are based upon assumption that certain testimony is credible.
18. Concede that his opinions are based upon possibilities, not probabilities.
19. Highlight expert’s lack of thoroughness.
20. Concede there are differences of opinion in peer-reviewed literature.
21. Concede opinion is largely or entirely subjective.
22. Affirm (or disavow, with a loss of credibility) plaintiff’s “rules of the road.”
23. Subject expert to “off-hand test” (Wellman).
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