U.S. Tax Ct. Judge David Laro favors ‘hot tubbing’ over cross-examination

The adversarial system is detrimental to expert testimony U.S. Tax Court Judge David Laro declared at a recent luncheon sponsored by the Business Valuation Association. Robert Reilly (Willamette Management Associates) and Dan Van Vleet (Stout Risius Ross) guided the free-flowing discussion. Judge Laro is the author of the landmark Mandelbaum valuation decision.

To test a valuation, the current system relies on cross-examination, which often leaves the expert with a shredded credibility and the court with fragmented testimony. This process, Judge Laro says, is not conducive to the court’s producing an informed and meaningful decision.

Hot tubbing, or, more formally, concurrent witness testimony, the judge explained, is a much better way. It’s a technique practiced in numerous other countries, and it encourages a substance-driven discussion involving the judge and the two opposing experts only.

To find out how it works in Judge Laro’s courtroom, click here