Arising out of what started as a foreclosure case, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled in a published opinion that licensed professionals acting as expert witnesses owe the same duty to their party as they would to any client, and witness immunity is not a defense against professional malpractice.
Expert witnesses, if they are well prepared and know a case well, can go a long way to helping win a case at trial. Often, a case will center on an engineering, scientific, environmental, or similar issue, and having the right expert can make all the difference. However, the flip side is that a poorly prepared expert witness, or one who does not testify effectively, can help lose a case.
If the lawsuit necessitates that an expert be retained, the attorney and expert need to have a relationship built on trust. This is particularly important so they can each manage the other’s expectations. How can this be accomplished?