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Land Surveyor as an Expert Witness


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Ready to become a land surveying expert witness? This seminar/workshop is designed to familiarize the practicing surveyor with the unique requirements placed on being used as an expert in litigation. Not all surveyors should qualify as experts. The instruction will discuss what differentiates experts from the “garden variety” surveyor and will offer suggestions on how to be.

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Land Surveyor as an Expert Witness

  1. 1. Copyright Nettleman Land Surveying, INC (2016)
  2. 2. WELCOME TO A (STRANGE) NEW WORLD • Judgment as a matter of Law • Laches • Daubert ruling • Injunctive relief
  3. 3. THE EXPERT’S ROLE IN EACH PHASE • Pre-Trial: Research, Research, Research • Trial: Communicate, Explain, Tell the Story • Post-Trial: Document, Document, Document
  4. 4. FIVE TRICKS OF THE TRADE • Be Prepared • Document, Document, Document • Tell The Whole Story • Be Yourself • Communicate
  5. 5. U.S. COURTS OF APPEALS • Party who loses in district court has an AUTOMATIC right to an appeal • 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals – 12 are geographic – One is a specialty court (Federal Circuit) • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (“Eleventh Circuit”)
  6. 6. STATE COURTS • Each state has its own, independent judicial system. • Cannot be bound by the federal courts. • One state system cannot bind another court system. • Structurally, each is a bit different. – But, most have three levels.
  7. 7. DISCOVERY • Discovery is the stage of the case where all the parties gather facts, law and other info to support their claims or defenses • Methods include depositions, interrogatories, request for production, requests for admission, physical examinations and more
  8. 8. WHO CAN BE A WITNESS? “Every person is competent to be a witness unless these rules provide otherwise. But in a civil case, state law governs the witness’s competency regarding a claim or defense for which state law supplies the rule of decision.” FRE 601.
  9. 9. UNDERLYING FACTS AND DATA Unless the court orders otherwise, an expert may state an opinion — and give the reasons for it — without first testifying to the underlying facts or data. But the expert may be required to disclose those facts or data on cross-examination.
  10. 10. SPECIALIZATION • Licenses: SIT, RPLS, Cfeds • Certificates: GISp, University, CEUs • Work-experience focus: “I’m an expert because I do this work every day”
  12. 12. DAUBERT vs FRYE DAUBERT • Testimony based on: “general acceptance” • Tests: (1) general acceptance of (2) theory or technique FRYE • Testimony based on: “scientific method” • Tests: (1) theory or technique is (2) scientifically valid
  13. 13. DO NOT ASSERT VAST KNOWLEDGE • This will only trap you. • Avoid answering every question with absolute certainty. • If you are not too positive, you will have room to add a detail that you may have overlooked earlier.
  14. 14. FEES • Have a definite fee arrangement, never a contingency. • Answer questions about your fee straightforwardly. • You are a professional entitled to a professional fee.