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Subjects for which a Purchasing Expert Witness is Sought

Robert Menard,  Certified Purchasing Professional, Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant, Certified Green Purchasing Professional, Certified Professional Purchasing Manager

Robert Menard
Certified Purchasing Professional,
Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant, Certified Green Purchasing Professional, Certified Professional Purchasing Manager

Purchasing expertise is a rare commodity. Most purchasing subject matter experts are company or industry specific. Moreover, this micro population in general has neither interest, willingness, or appreciation for how to serve commerce at large nor knowledge of the legal process. Therefore, attorneys usually do not know where to find an expert witness in purchasing when they need one.

Google “expert witness in purchasing” and depending upon the day, my name, web site, or blog comes up in 4 to 7 of the top 10 organic results and the American Purchasing Society , a strategic partner, fills another 3 or 4 slots. This is further evidence of how elite is the pool of expert witnesses in purchasing.

Why so? 

An expert witness in purchasing must possess a blend of talent, skill, and experience ingredients. Among credentials in the purchasing profession, the Certified Purchasing Professional is the threshold criterion. Knowledge of the legal process, ability to understand and digest the concept of “discovery”  and a comprehensive mastery of purchasing laws are mandatory. For commerce within the U.S., expertise with the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)  is an absolute requirement, at least as to the purchase and sale of goods. Further, the purchasing expert witness must be practiced in contract law and forms of contract.

 What do lawyers want from a purchasing expert?

A lawyer seeking expert witness services in purchasing, or any other subject for that matter, wants a virtually unimpeachable authority, or at least less impeachable than the other side’s expert. Fortunately for the legal world, there are so few purchasing expert witnesses that finding and qualifying one usually makes all the difference.

Every expert witness case involves strict ethical and contractual limitations as to disclosure of names, cases, or other identifying information. As such, it is important to have attorney references from previous cases. The attorneys discuss the expert’s abilities but not the specific cases. The expert witness should never divulge the cases and parties with which he is involved.

Expert witnesses don’t usually dispute facts unless they are arguable or shaky. Rather, the expert witness’ role is to interpret facts and render an opinion. The crucial wording for expert witnesses is “to within a reasonable degree of certainty.” The review of discovery documents, preparation of the report, deposition, and even testimony at trial all have the same goal, the formation, presentation, and documentation of the expert opinion.

Frequently, testimony at trial is not required as cases settle before trial. The rational is that it is better to settle before trial, even if on the courthouse steps. http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/21/when-to-sue-entrepreneurs-law-taxation-bovarnick.html The Expert Witness Report can be enough to move parties toward settlement. Sometimes, a report is not necessary. Here is an example.

A law firm engaged me to render an opinion for their internal use only. That is, they wanted to know how I saw the chances of success. This happens on occasion. Their client was an insurance company that insured a Mom and Pop independent retailer. The retail store owners had purchased fireworks in one state, where it was legal, but sold them in their home state, where it was illegal. A customer got hurt, sued the retailer, who had no money, so it was on to the deep pockets http://www.yourdictionary.com/deep-pocket of the insurance company. The attorney assessed his client’s position as week and open to extensive damages.

The facts were messy, few documents, oral contracts and disputed accounts of what had transpired. Their only question was if any principles of professional purchasing had been violated, in my opinion. After review of some of the salient points, I advised them that there was little I could offer given the facts and information supplied. I am certain they proceeded to settlement negotiations rather than risk a jury decision.

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