Monday, July 29, 2013

SCDTAA Panel on Expert Retention at Summer Meeting

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to serve on a panel at the annual summer meeting of the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association  ("SCDTAA").  For the last couple of years, I have served as a Co-Chair of the organization's Products Liability Substantive Law Committee, and this role has afforded me the opportunity to become more involved in SCDTAA.  Although I was only able to go up for the day, the meeting occurred from July 25 to July 27, 2013 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina.  (This was my first time going to the Grove Park Inn...I will definitely go back, as it is a beautiful setting).

I was originally contacted earlier this year about serving on this panel.  The idea was to get three or four different lawyers who handle different types of cases, and bring the perspectives of those practice areas to a discussion about best practices when dealing with experts.  After some discussion, I was designated to speak on products liability on the panel, Blanton O'Neal handled the perspective from construction litigation, and Trey Suggs handled medical malpractice.  Ron Wray moderated the panel, and our time lot was 11:15 a.m. to noon on Friday.

It was a nice discussion, and we had a good crowd of probably forty to fifty lawyers in attendance.  Generally, we spoke about issues relating to hiring national versus local experts, "professional" experts versus practicing specialists, expert preparation, and a variety of other issues that every practitioner has to address when dealing with experts.  From the products liability perspective, I discussed how experts have become more important in this practice area in the last few years in light of Watson v. Ford Motor Co., Graves v. CAS Medical Systems, Inc., and our courts' definitive decision to require proof of alternative design in design defect cases (which is -- in my opinion -- difficult to prove without engaging an expert).  If you follow this blog, you are familiar with these issues and case law, as I have blogged extensively about them over the last few years.

I always enjoy speaking, and the SCDTAA is a great organization if you do defense work in South Carolina.  If you have any interest in becoming more involved in SCDTAA generally or the Products Liability Substantive Law Committee, I would be happy to discuss the organization with you.

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