Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Special Procedure as to Expert Testimony

With the agreement of the parties, the Tax Court directed the experts to testify concurrently. To implement the concurrent testimony, the Court sat at a large table in the middle of the courtroom with all three experts, each of whom was under oath. The parties' counsel sat a few feet away. The Court then engaged the experts in a three-way conversation about ultimate issues of fact. Counsel could, but did not, object to any of the experts' testimony. When necessary, the Court directed the discussion and focused on matters that the Court considered important to resolve. By engaging in this conversational testimony, the experts were able and allowed to speak to each other, to ask questions, and to probe weaknesses in any other expert's testimony. The discussion that followed was highly focused, highly structured, and directed by the Court. See Rovakat LLC et al. v. Commissioner; T.C. Memo. 2011-225 (Judge Laro). See the opinion here.