Forensic Accounting Expert Witness Testimony Allowed

Plaintiffs filed suit against the defendants related to a dispute over the construction of a luxury home.  Plaintiff hired a Forensic Accounting Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendants have filed a motion to exclude.  The court denied the motion to exclude.

Facts:  This case (Puntillo et al v. Knecht et al – United States District Court – Northern District of Illinois – May 23rd, 2019) involves a dispute over the construction of a luxury home.  The plaintiffs allege that the defendants constructed a home for them that was riddled with defects.  The defendant company dissolved and a new housing development company was created with allegedly with very similar, if not the same owners.  This lawsuit is whether the plaintiffs can enforce a judgment against the prior company against the newly formed company.  The plaintiffs have hired Forensic Accounting Expert Witness G. Scott Solomon to provide expert testimony.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The defendants allege that Solomon’s testimony should be excluded because Solomon offers contradictory statements, provides opinions that do not require specialized knowledge, improperly usurps the role of the fact finder, and provides testimony that is cumulative and unnecessary.

The court opines that the claim by the defendants that Solomon offers contradictory testimony go to the weight of the evidence, not the reliability of Solomon’s testimony.  In addition, the court opines that the alleged contradictions are illusory.

In addition, the court opines that the defendants’ other arguments – that Solomon’s opinions do not require specialized knowledge and that he has usurped the role of fact finder – do not fare any better.   The court opines that Solomon has extensive experience in financial forensics and has various certificates to demonstrate his qualifications.  The court also notes that Solomon looked through and analyzed numerous documents that were produced through the discovery process.  The court also opines that Solomon’s conclusion does more than just connect the dots and he relies on his experience and specialized knowledge to identify which transactions and facts are relevant to consider.

The court also opines that Solomon has not usurped the role of the finder of fact as he has steered clear from expressing opinions on the ultimate issues of the case.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of G. Scott Solomon is denied.

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