Professional Opinions in a court of law

First, let me say that for the purposes of this thread I will not use, type, state or even RESPOND to the two words I will describe here:

First word - One who is considered to be more than proficient in their field of work, someone who is viewed as being more than a journeyman or professional.

Second word - One who might be giving sworn statements or might (in another sense) have seen something.

I know all of that might sound very “beating around the bush” but I am specifically avoiding those words. For clarification, someone might post the initials but even then I will NOT respond on this public forum.

That said, has anyone here ever provided any of this kind of “information” in a professional capacicty so as to assist one party or the other in relation to legal proceedings?

I have been asked to provide in a paid capacity, statements that (if questioned by the other side’s representation) would call into question some or all of another roofer’s work, their abilities, the process & products utilized & the repairs made on a project that I did not initiate or have the ability to see in any stage other than “assumed completion”.

These statements would be in a manner that would be used to determine if the other roofer performed substandard work or did their work (if not substandard) in a less than timely fashion, thereby causing economic damages to the person who alleges this work was detrimental.

If any of you have done this sort of thing before, whether in assistance for side A (initiator) or side B (respondant), I would be interested to hear from you.

I have not used specific language on purpose; if anyone were to do a search on the internet for my ID (which I also use as my business name) then they would obviously be able to connect the dots. I do not want to endanger my position, nor do I want to do anything that would put any of you @ risk.

Everything done via electronic communication or fax is subject to these proceedings, so I wouldn’t want anyone to get dragged into a position they were uncomfortable with.

Thanks.

Heres a real easy way to sleep at night and not ave to worry about what you said or how you said it,always tell the truth.

It’s not about sleeping @ night & not telling the truth, it’s about how to properly insulate myself & not get things twisted by the defense.

The only cases I’ve seen was some roofers racked archetech shingles ,the homeowner called in the manufactuors rep who voided the warranty .The contractor gave him his money back,the homeowner got a free roof.Still has the same roof today.

All the cases I know of the manufactuors rep was called in for expert testimony.It would seem the roof would have to meet the manufactuors specs and the court would want expert testimony from a manuf. rep.

I guess there are other things involved such as leaks that caused damage to ceilings etc.where a roofing company can give testimony as to the cause of the damage.Pictures would play a big part if it went to court,its the next best thing if not better than expert testimony.

I would rather stay out of it and let the rep handle it,but I havent crossed that bridge yet.

It is best to stay out of court.
For whatever reason…
If your customer has a legal problem with the prior roofer.
Don’t get involved.
It is not your problem.
Unless you like this sort of thing…
Some people seek it out…
Why make it your problem?
Are you bored?

Whether you like it or not, that roofer is your brother…
He may be a hack, he may have forked up the entire job…
Unless you see obvious fraud and negligence bordering upon criminal, he is your brother And You Should Not Testify Against Him.

Who watches your back Ranch?
Probably just you…

You are there to fix the problem at hand.
Not to lay blame…

Last month I did one.

It was for a tenent against the building owner. I don’t know the specifics of the case but, the tenent complained about the roof which was in very poor condition. The building owner got some fly-by-night guys to reroof the bad areas. The tenent was told by someone else that the job was very bad and it wasn’t any better than it was before. I was asked by the tenents attorney, which happens to be my attorney, to inspect the entire roof and most importantly, the repairs done. I gave a truthful and honest inspection. The funny part was that the repairs weren’t as bad as they thought, but the rest of the roof was way worse than expected.
I gave them a written inspection report along with a letter explaining the report. I have heard nothing back from anybody. So I figure they took my word for it and it was resolved.

did he fall

So far, all I have is about 5 minutes worth of telephone conversation combined between the plaintiff & then later on his attorney.

This building was a 1 story unit & they essentially cut the cap off of the original house & added a 2nd floor which was then turned into a rental unit (the bottom was divided into 3 separate rental units @ the time of the 1st project). This building is about 2 blocks from the campus & rental units are a hot commodity there.

Anyhow, on the first go 'round, supposedly there were problems in the performance of the 1st guy. I don’t know if he was late in getting the structure dried in or shingled, but in any event there was supposedly some sort of water damage to the entire building & this is what’s being contested.

Me & my guys did the work for the 2nd story remodeling & also repairs / re-roofing where ladders & scaffolding were placed on the existing roof to the 1st level.

It has gone so far as to one side doing preliminary work towards a lawsuit & I have no real idea as to what happened. I have requested a charted timeline as to what the plaintiff says happened as well as any corresponding photos that might tie into this chart.

FYI, I asked this same question to another forum that I frequent & this is what I was told:


250/hour is definitely in the range for experts. Higher for PhDs with rarefied specialties. Good if you can get it and have a basis for it (Real Estate inspections as you said).

The most important thing is don’t compromise your opinions for the $$$, it will be outed. Second is don’t draw any lines in the sand or take any hard positions that you may be unable to defend.

When testifying, it’s excellent if you give credence to the opposing expert’s opinion but explain why it’s flawed. Instead of “he/she’s just full of crap.”

Once I get the plaintiff’s information, I will be able to determine if this is enough for me to make a qualified judgment or not.

I am also going to ask that the plaintiff’s side redact (i.e. mark through) the name of the “other side” so it won’t predispose me to any particular opinions.

As it is, when I do real estate presale work with written reports, I ask the realtor to not tell me whether they’re representing the buyer or seller - I’m there to represent the roof.

I have been hired for this several times, got ordered to go to court as an expert witness once but the defendant settled at the last minute. I write up a roof inspection report with photos of defects and explanation of the problems. You are at that point working as a roof consultant and not a contractor and can charge accordingly.

I did this last year for a some one who was suing his roofer for screwing up his roof. I charged 300/hr and produced a detaileld report of my findings.

But I urged the home owners attorny to use me as a last resort. I told him to have the city inspect the roof, believe it or not the city of Indianapolis refused to inspect the roof even though a permit was pulled! The manufacturer of the shingle would do nothing either go figure!

In my report I stuck to only things that were inconsistant with general roofing practices and manufactuer guildlines so as not to appear to be just, “picking” apart a competitor.

Axiom, if someone else screws up to a point where another person is economically damaged, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be held accountable.

I don’t care if it’s someone in our line of work or not… as stated, I don’t know the full back story; I don’t know if the other roofer tried to make things right, don’t know if they were on the case but broke a leg or had their mother go into the hospital @ the last moment.

Hopefully this will all come out in the docs I have requested.

I have asked for $ 225.00 for an approximately 2 to 4 hour involved review of photos & timeline (which will possibly require me to make another onsite visit to the project house, over 1/2 of which is now my shingle work) & which I will then try to apply to a written report.

But to say that someone should get a pass because they are a “Brother roofer” is absurd.

It’s the position and duty of the defense to discredit you. Should you not wish that to happen, don’t play.

I think I’m now entering my 17th roof related court case as an expert witness, and they do not become any easier. However, if “Right” is on your side, there are no problems. If the facts are nebulus, it is simply the judges or arbitrator to render a decision.

IQ, what are the more common ways that the other side has attempted to discredit your work, testimony, opinions or written statements?

I have had a lotta lawyers tell me things like “If your opinion differs with the plaintiff” (the party who has contacted me) “then you will most likely be listed as ‘consulting expert’ & you may not be called by the side that hired you.”

It begins with your work history, or how you’ve gathered the knowledge to act in a role of “expert.” If you’ve been asked to provide a C.V., Cirriculum Vitae, which is just a resume, ALL facts better be correct, and that’s just for depositions. If it moves to court and incorrect facts are uncoverd, it could be perjury. The lawyers should gather and question your expertise together and mutually agree you’re qualified to present facts pertaining to the case.

Next they’ll question how you’ve kept up to date on roofing developments. Old Salts, guys who quit roofing years ago are normally tossed for that reason. It’s basically all in the questions put before you, ,where you’re asked if the roof is a total failure, then ten minutes later you’re asked a question where your response could suggest the roof could be repaired. The “name rank and serial number” approach to responding to questions holds true, and your responses are focused solely on what you know about the specific application.

If you’re accepted as an “expert” for this matter, by the attorneys, post something here.

PS, you will of course be called by the party that hired you. It’s silly to think you wouldn’t.

I appreciate the assistance from the respondants to this thread.

Ranch,

First off, I would like to say that you would represent the proper construction methods with your knowledge and your ability to properly express the knowledge in both a technically correct and easily understood manner. You were a good choice to be used for proper representation.

Next, please check out this link to a roofing consultant by the name of Ron Humgartner. He lists a fee scedule for all tasks to be considered and includes court show up time and waiting, even if the case gets settled out of court. Don’t sell your expertice short.

Here is the link:
ronhungarter.com/professional_fees.html

Finally, some other things that the opponent will try to do to discredit you, is to look at your personal background. Any DUI’s or bar room brawls or battery charges in your past criminal record. They can attempt to get very personal, so it is best to be completely upfront with your side first off and if it comes into play, you would be prepared for it.

Good Luck,

Ed

Ranch,

How did thigs go?

Ed

I need to contact the plaintiff or his attorney - haven’t heard from them since their call(s) to me about 1 month ago (or whenever my 1st posting was).

:?: