The Case of the Insane Expert
One time in a copyright/trade secret litigation, a colleague and
friend was the expert for the opposing party. I had told the counsel
for my party that my friend was pretty sharp and that they shouldn't
underestimate him. When the lawyers returned from deposing him,
they called me. "Does you friend... have problems?" they
"What kind of problems?"
"I don't think so," I replied. They explained that when
they asked him about one set of code he replied about a different
set of code. When they pointed to a particular file, he pulled out
a printout of a different file. When they asked him to list his
client's trade secrets, he went off on a rant about trade secrets.
When they asked him about his technical knowledge he got angry and
slammed his fist on the table.
I thought about it for a minute. As far as I know he's rational,
and smart. So it occurred to me what he was doingnot something
I would do, but an interesting strategy. His company was a big company
suing a little company that was quickly becoming a major competitor
in a very important niche. The big company seemed to have little
evidence of any wrongdoing. My colleague knew that and must have
decided that the only way to support his client, without lying,
was to "distract" the attorneys and end up saying nothing
Was this a good strategy? I don't know for sure. The large company
almost depleted my client's capital. But my client, who had done
nothing wrong, survived. There was eventually a settlement agreement.
And my client has become a strong player in this industry.