Litigation is extraordinarily expensive. Legal and expert witness fees can quickly mount up and become a significant percentage of the amount in dispute. I worked on a cost dispute on a plant estimated to cost $68MM but was significantly over expended. The litigation and expert fees were about $10MM or almost 15% of the original estimate for the plant. In this case good scope, an experienced project team and tight control over field construction might have avoided both the over expenditure and litigation.
However, sometimes litigation cannot be avoided and it’s important to control costs of the legal staff as well as the expert witness team. We recently worked on a case where the expert fees were about 7% of the disputed amount. When costs of the legal team were added to the expert fees, the expense was substantial. This article outlines the steps that the client and law firm can take to reduce these costs.
The best way to reduce litigation and expert witness costs is to avoid them all together. This approach is outlined in my blog “Expert Witness, a Becht Engineering Service to Avoid.” That blog outlines the value of a sound project scope, selecting qualified contractors and vendors and having adequate resources to control the project, turnaround or maintenance effort. In the event litigation is unavoidable here are my suggestions to minimize the cost.
Execution of these 9 steps should significantly improve the expert witness efficiency and quality of deliverables. The best solution is always to have strong scope and control so litigation can be avoided.
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Rick Hoffman joined Becht Engineering in June, 2009 as a Senior Engineering Advisor. He has more than 39 years experience in engineering, reliability management and maintenance in the refining, petrochemical and synthetic fuels industries.Prior to joining Becht Engineering he was the Director, Specialty Engineering for LyondellBasell Industries. In this role he had worldwide responsibility for corporate technical support, mechanical engineering and maintenance for more than 40 chemical plants and two refineries. He was also responsible for capital project support, setting the strategic direction for Lyondell maintenance
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