kitchen table math, the sequel: 12/27/15 - 1/3/16

Friday, January 1, 2016

Expert witness, 8th grade edition

This "Op Doc," a verbatim re-enactment of a legal transcript, is both obnoxious and hilarious.

Obnoxious because the filmmaker elected to give the smart person a Northern accent, the dumb person a Southern accent.

Hilarious because the expert witness, who was paid $940 for his services, actually cannot do middle-school math.

Verbatim: Expert Witness
The “expert witness” in this case would not answer questions without his “formula sheets,” which were computer models used to reconstruct accidents. When asked to back up his work with basic calculations, he deflected, repeatedly derailing the proceedings. The lawyer’s questioning became increasingly specific, until the conflict revolved around two short words with very different meanings: “won’t” versus “can’t.”

The deposition is a warning for experts who rely heavily on technology. When it comes to expertise, knowing how to plug numbers into software is not a substitute for understanding the subject matter.