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  1. #1
    Tim Hoole's Avatar
    Tim Hoole Guest

    Default How much $$ for Deposition?

    Inspected a new house about a year ago.. Lots of sloppy and unfinished work. The owner is suing the builder. The builders attorney served me with a subpoena for a deposition at his office, which is about 50 miles away. How much $$ can I or should I ask for? This is in SoCal. Thanks for any feedback and/or advice.

    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    If you're served with a subpeona from the court there may be a check attached for mileage but you're often not entitled to anything else (at least as far as the court is concerned). In most cases if you don't show there is little or nothing that will happen to you but technically you are required to be there.

    Being called as an "expert witness" is different... then one side is basing their case on knowledge you have, not just witnessing and event. The subpeona you describe sounds like something you would get after witnessing a car wreck or similar. In those instances it's just your duty as a good citizen to come tell what you saw.

    I had a similar instance recently from an inspection I did over 5 years ago. I called an attorney and what I noted above is pretty much what they told me. The case ended up getting settled a day before I was due in which was nice.

    The whole thing kind of steamed me... it seems since I was originally working while the disputed 'event' happended that I should be compensated.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I would say, Call the client and explain that your hourly rate is lets say 100 per hour. If they are willing to cover tyour expenses and fees then you are willing to be at their disposal. Otherwise you are willing to sign a sworn statement also at standard rate and fees.
    We are in business. Did the client call you or did you just get a notificvation from the lawyer?


  4. #4
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    As Wayne said, call the client or his attorney and explain that you are not just sitting around waiting for folks to subpoena you. My fee for any legal work whether expert witness or subpeonaed witness is $250 per hour plus mileage. If I lived in the fabled and overpriced Land of SC, I would charge more. In short, no dough - no show.

    Aaron


  5. #5
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I have always made it clear that ANY other work from the inspection forward will be billable (it's also in my contract).

    Most atty's are smart enough to know that they don't want an unhappy (or forgetful) witness on the stand. If I'm not getting paid, I'm nt happy, and if I'm not happy, my memory sometimes fails.

    Call up the atty and infor him that you will be charging $XX's for your time.
    JF


  6. #6
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I do not know about CA law, but I would do as the others have said. Call the attorney and let them know that you do not provide free legal consultations and that you have not been employed as a Litigation Consultant (you are not an Expert Witness until the court declares you as such) and at this time you are only the Record Custodian. Forward them a Litigation Consultant agreement that spells out your fees and retainer amount.

    Most consultants and EW's charge a minimum hourly fee. I charge a min of 4 hours or half day @ $225.00 per hour. The time is from 8:00 AM to 12 Noon. and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. I set these times because if they want me to come in at 10 AM for the depo, they will pay me for the first half and then if they are not done by Noon they will pay for the second half of the day. This keeps the attorney from making you wait and wasting your time, it also forces them to work on your schedule and not theirs. You have to remember that your time is just as important if not more important that theirs. I bill my court time the same way.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I concur with Scott.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Hoole View Post
    The builders attorney served me with a subpoena for a deposition at his office,
    In what capacity are you being deposed? As Scott said, as Record Custodian? If so, you may have no choice but to go there and attest, as Record Custodian, that, 'yes, this is the report which was produced for the inspection which was performed on (date) at (address) for (client's name)'.

    PERIOD!

    That is all the Record Custodian can attest to.

    Also, call your client and have them call their attorney, he/she (the client's attorney) will want to be there (SHOULD BE THERE) with you for your deposition on their behalf. *IF* your client's attorney is not interested in being there with you, advise your client that if they do not want to retain your services as an expert for their side, the builder may.

    *IF* your client and their attorney takes offense at that suggestion, remind them that THEY JUST REFUSED to come with you to your deposition on their behalf.

    *IF* your client and their attorney still takes no action, it may well be in your best interests to, when the builder's attorney asks that first question above and beyond 'is this the report for so-and-so at such-and-such done on this date', you have an expert witness contract prepared and filled out, slipping it across the table to the builder's attorney say 'I will be more than happy to answer those questions ... but first ... sign here ...

    *NO ONE* ... I repeat ... NO ONE ... gets beyond Record Custodian unless they are willing to sign your expert witness contract, which includes a retainer fee, AND GIVES YOU THE PAYMENT ... before continuing with any answers to any questions beyond what the Record Custodian can attest to.

    No 'this is what I saw ... '

    No 'this is what I thought ... '

    No 'this is ... anything ... '

    The Record Custodian CAN ONLY attest to 'yes, this is the report which was produced for the inspection which was performed on (date) at (address) for (client's name)'.

    Each and every time they ask, your answer is: 'yes, this is the report which was produced for the inspection which was performed on (date) at (address) for (client's name)'.

    Think of it as 'name, rank, and number' ... until they retain you for further information.

    You can be called as a Witness of Fact and not get expert witness fees too. If you are called as a Witness of Fact, you can only read from the report ... NOTHING ELSE is 'fact'. No ad libbing, no explanations, no opinions, the report is 'fact' and if it is in the report you read it as 'fact', if it is not in the report, it is 'not fact', it is either 'hearsay' or 'opinion' and you have NOT be retained to offer either.

    Just the facts ma'am ... just the facts.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Curt Raymond's Avatar
    Curt Raymond Guest

    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Hi Tim, A few years ago when I was working in another profession I would testify as an expert and have to give depositions. I asked an attorney what they expect to pay. He told me $200.00 an hour for any protion of an an hour. The time started when I put the key in the ignition. Curt


  10. #10
    Jim Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Scott or other experienced "expert witnesses":
    Where can I get a copy of a litigation consultant agreement.
    I have been approached to participate in a case.
    Thanks,
    Jim


  11. #11
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hughes View Post
    Scott or other experienced "expert witnesses":
    Where can I get a copy of a litigation consultant agreement.
    I have been approached to participate in a case.
    Thanks,
    Jim
    This is a sample of one I use, it might not work for you. My agreement was morphed from one that a good friend of mine (Norm Sage) gave me several years back, Norm is no longer with us but his knowledge helped me greatly. I'm glad to pass it along. All I ask is that you change it to fit your needs and that you have an attorney review it.

    It is a very simple and straight forward agreement.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 12-19-2007 at 07:00 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
    Brian Cooper's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I charge $100 per hour with a two hour minimum. I have been called as an expert one time. I was there for one hour, I was not called to the stand, and I collected my minimum before I walked into the courtroom. They were not happy that they paid $200 for nothing, but I was not happy I drove there for nothing.

    I made them VERY aware of my fees before I agreed to appear.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    This is what I used to use.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Good advice and for more of the same in depth I highly recommend "The Expert Witness Handbook" by Dan Poynter, Para Publishing and Stan Brodsky's "The Expert Witness." "Writing and Defending Your Expert Report" by Babitsky and Mangraviti is also a good source..
    Bottom line on depos: never open your mouth until their check in your pocket!

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Cooper View Post
    I charge $100 per hour with a two hour minimum. I have been called as an expert one time. I was there for one hour, I was not called to the stand, and I collected my minimum before I walked into the courtroom. They were not happy that they paid $200 for nothing, but I was not happy I drove there for nothing.

    I made them VERY aware of my fees before I agreed to appear.
    Did you know that most of the attorney's are charging between $300 and $500 an hour! I have never had an attorney scoff at my fees, I did have one a couple of weeks ago say that I was undercharging!

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 12-19-2007 at 08:45 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  16. #16
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Add to West Coast Jerry's comment that the check is in your bank and cleared instaed of just in your pocket. Pointer and Brodsky books are good, Brodsky has several. A couple of more I found helpful were "How to Excel During Depositions", Babistsky and Mangravatti, and "Epert Testimony" by Lubet.

    Mangravatti and Babitsky also have some good training videos available at SEAK, Inc. - Expert Witness Training, Expert Witness Marketing, .

    Aaron


  17. #17
    Jim Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Thanks Guys!


  18. #18
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Did you know that most of the attorney's are charging between $300 and $500 an hour! I have never had an attorney scoff at my fees, I did have one a couple of weeks ago say that I was undercharging!
    $300 to $500 per hour for an attorney? Wow! My wife use to work for a law firm in Wisconsin and Kentucky where they charged between $175 to $250 per hour. She only saw one attorney in CA that charged $400 per hour. If construction is as bad in TN as it was in KY, those lawyers are financially set.

    One of the Partners in a nice size law firm felt like he couldn't take a day off since he would lose too much money for that day. Even with the $5,000 bonus he gets at the end of every month, he couldn't take a day off.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I see there are a number of different depositions but what is a Duces Tecum ?


  20. #20
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Did you try Google????


  21. #21
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    I guess my question should have been more specific, I have googled the term but my question actually relates to being paid for my deposition. I am being told I am not entitled to payment for the deposition unless I am an expert (insurance adjuster doesn't qualify ?) it is a professional license so I am really confused. Would my testimony be considered a deposition of fact or expert or something else ?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Crotty View Post
    I guess my question should have been more specific, I have googled the term but my question actually relates to being paid for my deposition. I am being told I am not entitled to payment for the deposition unless I am an expert (insurance adjuster doesn't qualify ?) it is a professional license so I am really confused. Would my testimony be considered a deposition of fact or expert or something else ?
    As Records Custodian, or Custodian of Records, your pay would be limited, so would what you say - you would ... SHOULD ... limit yourself to saying 'Yes, this inspection report is the inspection report for the inspection performed on (state day/month/year) for the building located at (state address).

    As Records Custodian ... THAT IS ALL YOU "KNOW"! You don't nuttin' else as the Records Custodian.

    As soon as they ask you what something means, or why this-and-this was written, or ANYTHING that requires ANYTHING other than stating that this inspection was done on this date for this address, then they are asking for your OPINION .... and YOUR OPINION is what is worth $$$$/hour with a X/hour minimum time (only you can set your value and price, and your minimum time - mine is set at $250/hour with a 4 hour minimum). If they want my OPINION, they have to pay for it.

    I have a few going now, and one of the opposing attorneys was trying to give me a hard time about my 4 hour minimum - I explained that some people seem to be slow learners and that I have to t-a-l-k ... r-e-a-l ... s-l-o-w for them and sometimes I even have to r-e-p-e-a-t ... m-y-s-e-l-f like I am now and that takes l-o-t-s ... o-f ... t-i-m-e ... I think they got the point.

    I have had some where the opposing attorney *insisted* that I bring 3 copies of the report to the deposition ... so I did ... I brought a CD with 3 copies of the electronic file on it ... ... they had to print their copies while the clock was running. Hey, they already had my electronic file, they just wanted *me* to print *for them*, not going to happen.

    My files are computer files, not paper files, thus I cannot bring a 'copy of my paper file' because I cannot bring what I do not have - I will bring as many copies of my electronic file as they want.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Thank you Jerry, very helpful !

    And thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread.


  25. #25

    Default Re: How much $$ for Deposition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Crotty View Post
    I but what is a Duces Tecum ?
    Subpoena duces tecum - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary


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