Report proposes limiting discovery—and litigation experts

BVWireIssue #79-1
April 1, 2009

A new report, issued by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System Task Force on Discovery, examines the role of discovery in perceived problems in the civil justice system and makes recommendations for improvement. Among the 29 proposed principles contained in the report: “The number of experts and the process for deposing them often significantly drives up costs; except in extraordinary cases, only one expert witness per party should be permitted for any given issue.” The report also concludes that:

  • The traditional “one size fits all” application of uniform rules to all cases, irrespective of nature and scope, no longer works; flexibility in applying specialized procedures to some cases should be permitted to promote more efficient and affordable outcomes;
  • The current system of pleading fails to provide an efficient mechanism for establishing claims or setting limits on the scope of discovery or trial; notice pleading should be replaced by fact-based pleading; and
  • Discovery should be limited by proportionality, taking into account the nature and scope of the case, relevance, importance to the court’s adjudication, expense, and burdens.

For insights on how the current discovery explosion has led to increasing Daubert challenges, consider Lost Profits Damages: Lessons Learned from Motions to Exclude Financial Experts, featuring Nancy Fannon and attorney Jonathan Dunitz. This is just one of BVR's On Demand Conference Packs (Recordings & Transcripts).

Ad Valorem tax property appraisal reports: 12 things to include

There is very little professional literature on the topic of valuation analysis relating to ad valorem taxation. For this reason, BV experts with a need can benefit from the Guide to Property Tax Valuation by Robert F. Reilly and Robert P. Schweihs. The book—available from Willamette Management Associates for purchase online—presents practical advice to solve specific ad valorem tax valuation problems.

One example: The authors offer insights on the ad valorem tax property appraisal reports and what they should include: 1) a description of the taxable (or tax exempt) property being appraised; 2) description of the subject asset or subject property bundle of legal rights encompassed by the appraisal; 3) property appraisal objective; 4) the purpose of the property appraisal; 5) the statutory, administrative, or other definition of the standard of value sought in the appraisal; 6) an explanation and description of the valuation analyst’s market research and data gathering procedures; 7) a description of the valuation methods and procedures used; 8) value indications derived and concluded from each method used; 9) a final conclusion of value; 10) a certification or representation of the principal analyst; 11) a statement of relevant assumptions; and 12) statement of the analyst’s professional qualifications.

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