FEWA member, Rudy R. Robinson, III, MAI, shares his experience in this issue’s Member Editorial Corner. Rudy has over 40 years of experience in real estate and appraisal. Mr. Robinson became a real estate broker in 1971, a member of the Appraisal Institute in 1980, and he founded Austin Valuation Consultants in 1989.
By Rudy R. Robinson III, MAI
Recently, I reviewed an expert’s report to opine whether it complied with his professional standards and ethics. Unfortunately, the report did not, and I found his opinions were not credible, reliable and definitely not prepared forensically. Examples leading me to this conclusion included:
These problems could have been averted had the expert communicated better with the client and client’s attorney. In a deposition, it is uncomfortable and embarrassing to discover that your report and opinions were not forensically prepared. Forensic is defined by Merriam-Webster “relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems.” In my view, the expert’s opinion was not prepared by way of a scientific process, and the fact that a peer review could not replicate the expert’s opinions will likely result in serious problems for him when faced with a Daubert motion to strike his opinions. Another contributing factor and forensic mistake made by the expert was an obvious attempt to develop an opinion in an area outside the expert’s background, training and experience. The expert simply wasn’t competent to express an opinion on this particular topic. This type of mistake is not uncommon when experts vary outside their areas of expertise and do not take the necessary steps to become competent in the specific type of problem to be solved.
Becoming a forensic expert is both a learned and acquired skill. Primary and continued education in the expert’s specific area would have prevented publication of a report that was not prepared by a forensic expert.
The takeaways from this case as it relates to a property forensic analysis are: