The Connecticut Superior Court has ruled that $325 per hour was a reasonable fee for an OSHA expert witness in a workplace injury case.[1]

The plaintiff in this case alleged that he fell through an open manhole in Norwalk, Connecticut, while working on a construction site, and suffered severe injuries as a result. The plaintiff retained Dr. Jay Abraham, an expert on then-applicable OSHA requirements and the regulations and standards of the construction industry. The plaintiff sought Dr. Abraham’s opinion on the sufficiency of conditions and preventative measures relevant to this accident. Dr. Abraham’s requested OSHA expert witness fee was a $4000.00 flat fee, and the defendants stated that his hourly fee if the deposition is conducted in his office in Long Island would be $750 per hour for a minimum of four hours.

In analyzing the reasonableness of the fee, the Connecticut courts look to 7 factors: “(1) that witness’s area of expertise; (2) education and training required to provide the expert insight that is sought; (3) the prevailing rates of a comparably respected available expert; (4) in nature, quality, and complexity of the discovery responses provided; (5) if he actually charged the party to retain the expert; (6) fees traditionally charged by other experts in related matters; and (7) and other factors likely to assist the court in balancing the interest implicated”[2], while leaving the ultimate decision in the discretion of the court. These factors mirror the factors considered in Federal cases.[3]

In this case, the court focused on rates charged in other workplace injury cases as well as Dr. Abraham’s qualifications as factors in determining the reasonableness of his fee. The court found that experts in Central Connecticut on these types of cases typically charge between $150-$250 per hour and cited a case involving a distinguished expert in the field in which the Court held that $285 an hour was a reasonable fee.[4] The plaintiff argued that Dr. Abraham’s three-page resume itself justified his requested rate. The Court, however, stated that many of the credentials listed on his resume were not related to workplace safety and therefore do not bear on the reasonable fee analysis for his consulting services in this case.

The Court held that a $4000.00 flat fee is entirely unreasonable as a show up fee. Furthermore, the Court held that a reasonable hourly fee was $325.00 per hour.[5]


[1] Ritch v. Hall Invs., Ltd., 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1080, *5 (2012).

[2] Id. at *3.

[3] See, e.g., Broushet v. Target Corp., 274 F.R.D. 432, 433 (2011).

[4] Rose v. Jolly, 48 Conn. Sup. 606, 607 (2004).

[5] Ritch v. Hall Invs., Ltd., 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS at *5.