Part 3 – Learn All You Can About the Plaintiff’s Safety Expert
In this 8-part blog series, we will explore tips for preparing an effective cross-examination of trucking safety experts.
Last week, we discussed the importance of knowing your case. This week we discuss the importance of preparation and researching the witness.
Successfully cross-examining the Plaintiff’s safety expert means knowing everything about that expert that you can get your hands on. We suggest starting with your DRI Trucking Community. Chances are, if the Plaintiff’s safety expert has been doing it very long, you will find other DRI members who “have the book” on that expert. Use these resources! Reach out to your fellow DRI members who will me more than happy to share with you their experiences (and battle scars) from tangling with certain Plaintiff’s safety experts.
Look on Lexis or Westlaw. Get on PACER. All of us have personal networks of lawyers that we work with – reach out to them and see if they know anything about the expert. You will be surprised that while the people you contact may not know anything about the expert, they may know somebody who does.
VerdictSearch can be another good source of information on an expert. Finally, if your local jurisdiction puts out a weekly or monthly trial reports, scour through those reports to see if your expert has testified in other cases.
Then, when you have identified cases in which the Plaintiff’s expert has testified, CALL the lawyers on those cases and pick their brain. How did the expert play at trial? What areas of questioning were effective? What are the landmines to avoid? Simply reading depositions and reports will not give you that information. Talk to the lawyers that have tangled with this expert.
Finally, scour the expert’s curriculum vitae and search for published articles relevant to the issues in your case. Does this expert typically write articles or give speeches for the plaintiff’s bar? Review those articles.
Trust us, the time you spend learning about this expert, and the intelligence you gather on this expert, will pay off handsomely when you are cross-examining that expert on the stand.