Horticulture Expert for Personal Property Case

The need

Attorneys defending a provider of agricultural services against a suit brought by a farm owner needed an expert in horticulture to support their case. The case alleged lasting damage of personal property as the defendant sprayed herbicide on crops neighboring the plaintiff’s fields. This herbicide then, allegedly, drifted onto the plaintiff’s fruit trees thus contaminating them and leading to loss of income and lasting damage to the property. The ideal expert would need to be able to opine on herbicide and chemical drifts.

Our approach

From conversations with the client, we determined that there were several key requirements for the expert. First, they would need to inspect the fruit trees to determine if they look as they should. If the trees did not look healthy, they would need to opine on other possible factors that could have contributed to their state. Finally, they would need to be able to discredit the damage claim which relied on loss of future revenue. Testimony experience was preferred, but not required.

The expert

We found an expert with 30 years of experience in the research of the impact of herbicides on fruits and vegetables. A professor of in the Horticulture and Crop Science department of a prominent university, he had a BS in Agriculture and an MS and PhD with a focus on various areas of Agriculture and Pesticide Residue Analysis. In his research he had analyzed the effects of the spray drift of herbicides and had also acted as an expert witness on the subject. Additionally, he had authored over 60 peer reviewed articles in his area of expertise. Finally, he had acted as in expert witness in several cases and had been deposed and had testified at trial.