In Watermarking an Expert Witness CV, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:
A recent article on a prominent expert witness directory site recommended and encouraged their experts and consultants to watermark their curriculum vitae. Their reasoning, according to the article, was because, “As disconcerting as it may be, unscrupulous activity does exist in the legal industry….”
The next thing I knew I received a copy of an email addressed to Mr. X from his adversary copying me requesting a copy of my expert report, as the deadline for submission of expert reports had expired. I immediately informed Mr. X that because he had not returned my retainer agreement and payment, nor sent me any discovery, I was not to be considered his expert on the case. I enclosed a copy of my original letter stating I had closed the file, and copied his adversary on my email to Mr. X.
Shortly after, I received a copy of a motion to the court made by the opposing attorney stating that I should be removed from the witness list and removed as Mr. X’s expert for the reasons stated in the motion. About a week later I actually received a call from the judge assigned to the case. The judge asked me what was going on. I explained the circumstances and sent the judge copies of my retainer agreement, letter / emails to Mr. X.
That same day I received a call from Mr. X, which was odd because he had never returned any of my calls in the past. He was extremely angry. He threatened me with legal action if I did not agree to be his expert, I refused. I was not concerned about his threat; my retainer agreement was clear, and I had made several requests for the status of my retainer agreement and payment with no response. I had provided clear notice I was not to be considered retained and was closing the file.
So the question remains: Would a CV with a watermark have prevented this? Not likely. An attorney who is using an expert’s good reputation by stating to their adversary they had retained that expert never intending to actually retain them is not going to let a little watermark stop them.
William Gulya, Jr., Middlesex Trenching Company, specializes in excavation & construction site preparation and is author of the book, “The Straight Truth: The Life of an Expert Witness.”