Preparation of the Quality Control Expert Witness

In The Role of Trial Counsel and House Counsel: Preparation of the Quality Control Witness for Deposition and Trial Testimony, authors Warren W. Eginton and Clifford L. Whitehill-Yarza, write:

Product liability cases require prevention and preparation by corporate and retained attorneys as well as by subject experts. Prevention activities include a prevention review, careful maintenance of blueprint and specifications files, file retention programs for in-house memoranda, and proper use of warranty disclaimers. Once the company receives a writ notifying it of litigation, it should assemble a defense team, consisting of the corporate attorney, an engineer, departmental representatives, and, if appropriate, a representative from the insurance carrier. An early responsibility for the team is to preserve the product and its files and to question witnesses. If an expert witness will appear at the trial, that person should be selected with care. Selection criteria include strong academic credentials and communication skills. Experienced expert witnesses should have no more than two-thirds of their cases devoted solely to either the defense or plaintiff side. The witness should prepare draft and final reports, doing so without retaining notes. Ideally, the witness should participate in a mock trial and then attend every day of the real trial. When on the stand, the expert ought to dress conservatively, speak loudly and clearly, and maintain the same demeanor when responding to both direct and cross examination questions.

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