Attacking a “Mt. Olympus” Expert’s Opinion at Deposition & Trial – Archived

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Attacking a “Mt. Olympus” Expert’s
Opinion at Deposition & Trial

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The adverse expert is typically the most dangerous witness and, at the same time, the most vulnerable. Most dangerous because he testifies cloaked in the mantle of the “unbiased scientist”; thus his testimony – if accepted by the jury – can determine a major issue, maybe the entire case. Yet most vulnerable because, unlike the fact witness who must defend only his first-hand observations, the expert witness must defend his testimony from attacks on a dozen fronts.

As seasoned litigators from all areas of practice have attested (see Reviews), this presentation elucidates the one-and-only logical method with which to effectively attack the (purported) scientific merits of any adverse expert’s opinion … no matter the field of (purported) expertise. Never again be the slightest intimidated when cross-examining any expert, even a “Mt. Olympus” one.

This webinar has 5 parts/5 videos. Total viewing time: approx. 6.5 hours. The agenda for each part is set out below. Links to the written materials – a 114-page PDF & 1-page PDF, the expert chart – appear below each of the videos. To sample the quality of the videos – and the quality of the teaching – watch the webinar’s first 30 minutes in the below YouTube.

Webinar (all 5 parts): $0

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Major Dramatis Personæ:

Michael Baden, Robert Shapiro, Brian Kelberg, Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, Ronald Goldman, Nicole Brown Simpson, Irwin Golden, O. J. Simpson, & Stephen Hawking

Minor Dramatis Personæ (many are very minor):

T. H. Huxley, Samuel Johnson, Raffaello Sanzio, William Bligh, Zeus, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Czar Alexander II, John Belushi, Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Christian Brando, Jeffrey Toobin, Johnnie Cochran, Marc Galanter, Barry Scheck, Bertrand Russell, the Bridge of Sighs (Venice), Robert Heidstra, Pablo Fenjves, Alan Park, Modest Mussorgsky, God (Old Testament), Pythagoras of Samos, Marcia Clark, Chris Darden, Aristotle, Sigmund Freud, Bob Newhart, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Psyche, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Piet Mondrian, Kenneth Baker, Edwin Hubble, Noah, Paul Robeson, Mark Twain, Robert Epstein, Werner Spitz, Michelangelo Buonarroti, “Rivera Live,” Paolo Uccello, & Sheila Stainback

Agenda for Part 1

  • Several fascinating remarks re the webinar’s “ground rules”
  • Introduction of a famous case and its “Mt. Olympus” expert, who will be cross-examined throughout the webinar
  • 2 categories of attack against the adverse expert’s opinion
  • Overview: deposition logic applied to adverse expert depositions
  • When attacks against an expert should be played at deposition
  • Much more of that famous case (Patience please … dozens of archetypal principles are explained and illustrated in Parts #2, 3, 4, & 5.)
  • The structure of every opinion: O = R + 2F
  • End point opinions, subordinate opinions, & bedrock findings & bedrock assumptions
  • Critical listening skills tested

Agenda for Part 2

  • The schematic every-case-forever chart introduced
  • 5 categories of expert opinions
  • 2 must-be-asked questions at the expert’s deposition
  • 10 kinds (common names) of expert rules
  • X and Y factors defined
  • Five components to a great cross-examination of an adverse expert

Agenda for Part 3

  • A scientific rule
  • A black hole = a schnirppy, a gzornonplatz, and an event horizon
  • When to use leading questions during the expert’s deposition
  • Experiential rules (science vs. art)
  • Adverse expert vs. cross-examiner’s expert
  • Saving attacks for surprise at trial 
  • Attacking an experiential, “you-gotta-trust-me” rule

Agenda for Part 4

  • Attacking the scope of expert’s claimed/implied area of expertise
  • Non-expert rules and the cloak of expertise
  • Expert’s rule’s essential factors (“necessary” and “sufficient”)
  • Expert’s answer’s strength
  • Expert’s weighing process
  • Critical listening skills tested
  • Two incredibly important – and easy to master – techniques
  • Attacks vs. expert’s X factors
  • The certainty scale and two archetypal arguments
  • Expert’s sources of assumptions

Agenda for Part 5

  • More re expert’s sources of assumptions and the chief lines of attack
  • Attacking expert’s findings derived through expert methods
  • Attacking expert’s findings derived through non-expert methods
  • The perfection question
  • Expert’s trinity of attacks vs. Y factors
  • Review of some key teaching points
  • Coda: Don’t squander the deposition of opposing expert