What is an Expert Witness?
The employment of an expert witness in commercial real estate litigation may not seem justified to the party the lawyer represents. A commercial real estate expert witness may seem to the party in litigation just another added-on cost in an expensive dispute. A sophisticated lawyer on the other hand is taking a broader view of the facts in hand and wants to make sure his client receives excellent representation.
How Can an Expert Witness Help?
We have all watched television shows and movies and seen where the expert witness is called to the stand and articulates his own independent opinion on the matter. In commercial real estate, the expert witness looks at several different areas that are disclosed in the matter and arrives at his/her opinions. The following is just a brief list an expert witness might consider when looking at a case:
- The custom and practice of the way parties act in commercial real estate
- Best practice in the industry which leads to positive/negative results
- Examination of fiduciary responsibilities of the parties
- Research on past valuation and how it impacts the matter
- How the “standard of care” impacts the case
- The duty to disclose matters that affect the actions of the parties
- The expert witness’s own personal experience
The expert witness’s assignment in any matter is to show no bias but to educate the jury or judge to understand the genesis of the case and how it went wrong. An expert will have the experience to move the case along without the lawyer having to do extensive research which is costly and slows the case down.
How Much Does an Expert Witness Charge?
A common question asked of an expert witness when he/she is being interviewed for a case is how much it is going to cost for its efforts. In the real estate brokerage business, the client will also ask a similar question, how long should it take to sell or lease the property? The expert witness does not have a crystal ball or read tea leaves so no answer is appropriate. Based on experience I would estimate the total fees to be 5-15% of what the legal fees will be at the end of the case.
Expert witnesses are not cheap, but if they are good, may save the party thousands of dollars in additional costs.
Lee Segal, Real Estate Expert Witness
Segal Commercial Inc., a full-service commercial real estate company, is led by Lee Segal. He has experience serving as an expert witness in commercial real estate disputes.
In Los Angeles, Lee S. Segal is widely regarded as a pioneer in the commercial and industrial real estate sectors. With more than 40 years of commercial real estate experience Lee Segal has worked with:
- Property management
- Environmental oversight
- Project management
In 2019 as the seller’s agent, Mr. Segal sold 6 commercial structures on 6 Acres in El Segundo for $32,500,000. He has established more than 20 partnerships for the construction and purchase of the commercial real estate. AIR CRE, the American Industrial/Commercial Real Estate Association, once had Lee Segal as its president. Contact Lee Segal today!