Saturday, September 30, 2006

Maybe There is Hope After All for Experts

For those of you who don't subscribe to our newsletter, I sent out a request this past week on behalf of an expert who had been designated as an expert in several cases (prompting the settlement of those cases) without permission. I have been astounded (and very appreciative!) by the hundreds of responses I have received.

This situation, what I call DWP (Designation Without Permission) by attorneys, is much more frequent than I had believed and terribly unfair! (I am compiling the responses this weekend and will be posting the compilation here and on our website as a free, downloadable document; I'll let you know as soon as it is available.)

While reading the various experiences of experts in this regard, I was approaching despair, but found a glimmer of hope in a clip from Pacific Business News.
The Hawaii Supreme Court has suspended a 39-year-old California lawyer for a year for placing a newspaper ad intended to discourage an expert witness from testifying in a case.
Darin P. Wright' s suspension took effect Sept. 18, according to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates the rules governing lawyers in Hawaii.

While not much, at least someone somewhere is willing to do something about unethical treatment of experts by attorneys!


Anonymous said...

I had such a situation recently. Excerpts from the note I sent follows. My own attorney assured me that my contention that I had not agreed to be retained meant that I was not.

"...I have not received a retainer or any funds from you, Mr. XXX [Mr. XXX was the guy's former attorney], the firm of XXX, YYY & ZZZ LLP, or anyone else for your case.

I have not yet been retained or engaged in your case…Although, having not been retained and therefore under no obligation to send you copies of any communications whatsoever, I have sent you copies of the emails XXX and I have exchanged, and a summary of verbal communications between him and myself.

I enjoyed our lengthy telephone conversation, but note that each written communication that you send to me seems contentious. I note that I have put in a couple of hours of unreimbursed work and I have not as yet been retained or engaged, regardless of whether I have been designated as an expert witness. It is the retainer and my own agreement to be engaged that engages me, and the retainer required is $XX, acceptance is indicated by my depositing such funds in my company checking account, and the retainer must be accompanied by the letter I sent completed with a signature from the client indicating that the client agrees to my terms regarding such items as payment and billing arrangements.

I have not yet received any such payment, signed agreement, and of course, have not yet deposited any funds in this case and so I reiterate, I have been neither retained nor engaged in any case on your behalf.

It is extremely unusual for me to find myself having contentious communications with a client or a potential client, especially before I am formally working for the client. I find myself uncomfortable with such a situation, and so it is with regret that I recommend you locate a different expert to advise you.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to search court records and find out if you have been designated without your knowledge?