Plaintiffs’ retained testifying experts must, similar to lawyers, market themselves to potential clients. In their profession, of course, their target clients are plaintiff-oriented firms. Just as members of any profession, plaintiffs’ testifying experts often become more sophisticated both in their craft and their marketing efforts with experience, which, essentially, means they become better at spinning the same underlying biographical facts over the years. As defense attorneys, we can uncover helpful impeachment material by comparing these experts’ current promotional materials with the ones used during the dawn of their careers. Both lawyers and their experts have used the Internet to promote themselves for almost two decades, and these marketing materials can still be found lurking in the greater depths of the Internet if you seek them out.
In catastrophic injury cases, defense counsel are most familiar with the first responder investigations conducted by local and state police and fire departments. In death cases, however, there is a third public responder, the local Medical Examiner’s Office.
United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
recently dismissed West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA)
consumer protection claims because the plaintiffs lacked standing as a result
of their bankruptcy discharge. Fabian, et al. v. Home Loan Center,
Inc., et al., No. 5:14-CV-42, 2014 WL 1648289 (N.D. W. Va. Apr. 24,
2014). Claims under the WVCCPA are available to a “consumer,” defined as “any
natural personobligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt.” W. Va. Code §
46A-2-122(a) (emphasis added). The court reasoned that because the plaintiffs
were relieved of personal liability for the debt by virtue of the discharge
that they received in bankruptcy, they were no longer obligated to pay the debt
and therefore could not meet the definition of a consumer. In reaching its
decision, the court cited an opinion from the United States Court of Appeals
for the First Circuit, which applied the same argument to claims brought under
the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et
seq. Arruda v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.,
310 F.3d 13, 23 (1st Cir. 2002).