The Benefit of Expert Witness Testimony

Inna Kraner, Managing Editor, The Expert Institute

Given the technical and complex nature of modern litigation, expert witness testimony is becoming increasingly important. Experts apply their experience and subject matter expertise to help the trier-of-fact understand industry-specific terms and processes. Experts can be an extremely valuable asset to either a plaintiff or defense attorney. To showcase the value of expert witness testimony, The Expert Institute has compiled a list of recent headline-grabbing cases where an expert witness made a significant impact on the case outcome.

Mark Cuban Defeats Insider Trading Allegations

When the SEC accused Mark Cuban of insider trading, the entrepreneurial businessman and current owner of an NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, was determined to prove his innocence. It took five years but with the help of a securities expert witness, Cuban was exonerated of all charges. The expert witness, and former SEC executive, convinced the jury that Cuban did not break any laws because he traded on information that was immaterial and publicly available at the time of the sale in question.

Apple Scores Win in High-Profile Patent Litigation

One highly talented and persuasive CPA convinced a federal jury in a high-profile patent litigation suit that Samsung Electronics Co. infringed on Apple, Inc. patents. Testimony provided by Apple’s economic damages expert witness helped resolve a dispute among jurors as to whether $178 million of the more than $230 million of profits that Samsung earned was attributable to Samsung’s operating costs as the South Korean-based company claimed. The jury, swayed by expert witness testimony, ultimately awarded a $290 million judgment in Apple’s favor.

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Chicago Man Exonerated and Awarded $25 Million

Sixteen years after he was wrongly imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, Thaddeus Jimenez was finally exonerated. Hardworking lawyers spent years attempting to prove malicious prosecution and violation of due process. Their case was greatly strengthened by the testimony of a former FBI agent and expert on police investigations. Jimenez’s police activities expert witness testified on reasonable practices for police investigations. He exposed the coercive tactics employed by a former Chicago police detective investigating the murder that then 13-year-old Jimenez was jailed for and explained how radically his actions deviated from industry standards. The Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Jimenez and awarded him $25 million, one of the most substantial verdicts in Chicago’s history.

Ethan Couch and the Affluenza Defense

A 16-year-old boy made national headlines when he avoided jail time for a drunk driving episode that left four people dead. Ethan Couch’s defense psychology expert witness described the young boy as suffering from a mental health condition called “affluenza.” The term, coined by mental health therapist Jessie O’Neill in her 1997 book The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence, describes an inability to appreciate the consequences of one’s actions. The judge, swayed by the expert witness’s testimony, chose to sentence Couch to 10 years of probation, rather than the 20 year jail sentence prosecutors sought.