Let me begin with a thank you to the many auctioneers who have reached out to me lately. I continue to talk with maybe 2-3-4 auctioneers a day about a variety of matters. Of course, I don’t give them specific legal advice but help them generally and sometimes recommend they find a suitable attorney.
One auctioneer asked me how it felt to be “targeted” every day? I told him I didn’t necessarily feel targeted but maybe because I was fairly used to it — and I’ve had some pretty high powered, fully loaded “guns” pointing at me the last several years and I wasn’t losing any sleep over it.
From the first auction case where I was hired to help an auctioneer and his attorney in 2010, there’s always been someone or something on the other side … the opposing side’s attorney, a state regulatory agency, attorney general, and/or sometimes the evidence itself.
Expert witnesses look at the evidence and then try to help the party that has hired them to the extent they can. For those who believe expert witnesses walk in off the street straight into a deposition, you obviously haven’t been an expert witness before.
Our first contact is customarily on the phone with the attorney involved. Thereafter, we meet with the attorney(s) and support staff and develop a game plan based upon either our “winning hand” or possibly our “losing hand.” Only thereafter is a deposition even scheduled, let alone conducted.
Once I’m deposed, it’s rare a question comes up that I and our attorneys haven’t discussed prior. For example, I might be asked what color the sky is? Our side has discussed this question ahead of time and possibly an answer — which might be, “Could you clarify? What day? What time of day? From what location? With what optical device?”
The other misconception is that everything is included in the official public record or shared with the losing side. For example, discovery, or related documents can be held as confidential by the court. Further, any discussions I have with the attorneys involved on our side often remain confidential. Anyone quoting from merely part of the public record or only their documents is only giving you part of the story.
Additionally, to assume that every other witness — every other document — every other writing and every other shred of evidence that counters what one side is claiming are absolutely true is disingenuous. Many times other expert witnesses provide false testimony or erroneous reporting which in some cases is not part of the official record, and rather explored in confidential settlement discussions.
Just last week we secured our 35th significant auction consulting case and for the 7th time, both parties in the litigation desired to hire us to assist with their claim. We received no confidential information from either side and were able to firm up our engagement thereafter.
In this case, again, I’ll fully expect to again be a target of the opposing side — as that’s how the legal system typically works in regard to expert witnesses. As our attorney told me yesterday, “They’ll try to discredit you so that your views are besmeared.” I told him (once I looked up “besmeared”) I was quite used to that.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.