A recent case out of federal court in Louisiana isn’t groundbreaking or unusual, but is illustrative of how attorneys swat at financial expert witnesses like low-hanging piñatas.
In a case where the value of an engineering firm came into play, the plaintiff aimed its Daubert challenge at defense expert Kim Early CPA, MBA, calling him unqualified and his testimony irrelevant, based on the wrong methodology and not supported by facts. The court determined, however, that even though Early had not taught in the BV field, is not published and holds no BV certifications, he is not required to have these to testify. The plaintiff said Early didn’t know enough about the claims in the litigation, but the court said this and other issues relating to the value of stock are relevant to damages and available for scrutiny during cross-examination. The plaintiff took issue with Early’s methodology, his lack of a publishing history and the fact that the engineering firms he used for comparisons weren’t the same size. Based on an email exchange between counsel and the expert, plaintiff also questioned whether the defendant’s in-house counsel overly influenced the witness’ conclusions.
The defense even took issue with the way Early started his sentences, several of which began with phrases such as “we think” or “we feel” or “we estimated.”
The court rejected the challenge and gave Early the green light to testify, saying it is required to look at a witness’ principals and methodology, not just his conclusions. The court repeated its view that the plaintiff was free to address its concerns during cross-examination.
Willis v. TRC Cos., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38573 (W.D. La. May 12, 2008). Note: In case you’re interested, I see that Lexis posted 10 motions and other documents leading up to this decision. Good stuff.