It’s a rare case that can’t be aided by a skilled economics or accounting expert witness. That’s true whether it’s commercial litigation involving issues such as antitrust, unfair trade practices, breach of contract, commercial loss, business interruption, or employment discrimination. It’s also true in personal injury, wrongful death, or medical malpractice cases.
Economics experts apply economic theories and methods to calculate losses and damages in claims involving persons, workers, or markets. They may be asked to opine on business valuations, lost earnings, wage disputes, securities values, costs of contractual breaches, and other complex issues. Or they may deal with economic matters around employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Accounting expert witnesses, sometimes called forensic accountants, help sort out the labyrinthine financial aspects of litigation involving complex tax issues, asset valuation, and the valuation of intangibles, including goodwill. Often, the expertise of these specialty witnesses overlaps with economics experts.
The past several years have seen increased governmental actions in several areas where economics and accounting expert witnesses play an increasingly prominent role. For example, governmental allegations of uncompetitive behavior in multiple industry sectors have increased in the past decade. Economics expert witnesses can assess specific ranges of economic issues that arise, including relevant product and geographic market definitions and entry conditions. Similarly, the Internal Revenue Service has had a focus on financial fraud during COVID-19. Whether the matter in question relates to taxes, valuations, bankruptcy, relief funds, or other related financial disciplines, a forensic accountant expert witness can help you in defense of your client.
By their nature, most intellectual property claims are sufficiently complex to require economic and accounting expert witnesses. For example, what are the damages when a product infringes only one component of a patented invention? And since intellectual property patent rights can persist for 20 or more years from the date of filing, and copyrights can last far longer than that, these values often need to be calculated far into the future.