There May Be Life After Home Inspections

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THERE MAY BE LIFE AFTER HOME INSPECTIONS……

THE EXPERT WITNESS AS A “HIRED GUN”

Credibility is critical, and "hired gun" accusations common to expert witnesses. References to testifying expert witnesses as "hired guns," "whores," or "prostitutes," by claimants is par for the course. This is very annoying when qualified experts hear some association members bitterly complain regarding a fellow member being a traitor because they have been retained by “the other side” in a home inspector law suit. The truth is who would you want against you, a paid parrot or a truly qualified member who sticks totally and only to the facts of the matter? If you “screw up, you screw up’ and there’s no getting around that fact so bite the bullet and mark it down to gaining valuable experience for the future.

Ethical expert witnesses work hard to make mediators, arbitrators, judges and juries (and sometimes litigants) understand that they aren't like television "experts," that courts often need expert testimony about complex issues, and that honest experts can disagree (though their views may be less divergent than implied by the opposing attorneys). The combination of adequate counsel and intuition gained through experience usually ferrets out dishonest, insincere, or incompetent experts.

If you're a lawyer, don't expect more than honesty, articulately and assertively presented testimony from your expert. If you're a construction expert witness who seeks a forensic career, don't work with an attorney who is seeking medical opinions. If you’re a construction consultant or experienced home inspector, stick to the facts relevant to those disciplines. The less said is often times better than more and always keep it simple and on point. Did they follow the accepted standards of the building industry and/or did they comply with the standards of practice of whatever associations they may be a member of and did they stay within the confines of California Civil Code 7195 to 7199? As a competent expert witness you will be required to show examples and be prepared to be grilled, usually by folks who know little or nothing about home inspection protocol. And for goodness sake make sure your CV is up to date and more importantly accurate. One mistake there and its game, set and match.

Jerry McCarthy

Construction Consultant

Healdsburg, CA