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Role of the Technical Witness in Litigation (TWW 19-1)

September 20, 2018 @ 8:00 am - September 21, 2018 @ 4:00 pm


Course Description

Most evidence in litigation is introduced through the use of technically-qualified “expert” witnesses. The judgments rendered are dependent on the quality of the witnesses and the evidence presented. This course is designed to improve the quality of technical testimony. Attorneys and experienced technical witnesses teach the course to provide a balanced presentation.


To provide practical instruction and demonstration in the skills and techniques needed by individuals who serve as technical consultants or witnesses in litigation.

Who Should Attend

This course is particularly valuable to any aviation professional who may give testimony in hearings, deposition or trial as well as consultants, investigators, safety managers, representatives of professional pilot associations and managers whose responsibilities may involve them in the legal process. Experienced expert witnesses will find the course both challenging and informative to help them enhance their role as an expert/technical witness. Also individuals who may wish to enter this profession or, because of their job, may become involved in litigation from accidents will find this course beneficial.

Course Outline

  1. The Litigation Process
    • The United States Legal System
      • Origins of U.S. Common Law
      • The Federal and State Systems
      • Sources of Law
      • Structure of U.S. Courts
      • The Legal Profession
      • The Jury System
    • Pre-Trial Discovery
      • Objectives/Forms of Discovery
      • Overview of Related Theories of Liability
  2. The Rules of Evidence
    • Admissibility of Evidence and Testimony
    • Rules Pertaining to Experts
  3. The Role, Qualifications and Characteristics of the Technical Witness
    • Scope of Activity
    • Responsibilities
    • The “In-House” Expert/Consultant
    • Formulation of Opinion
    • Research
    • Pre-Accident/Litigation Activity
    • Post Accident/Pre-Litigation Activity
    • Legal Requirements
    • Qualifications
    • Evidence of Experience
    • Resumes
    • Characteristics of a “Good” Expert
    • Communication Skills
    • Personal Style
  4. Ethical Considerations
    • The Privilege of Expert Testimony
    • The Pressures on Experts
    • The Responsibilities
  5. Consultant as a Technical Witness
    • Getting Started
    • Agreements with Law Firm (Client)
    • Investigation
    • Deposition/Trial Preparation
    • Development of Communication Skills
  6. Deposition and Trial
    • Oral Depositions
    • Trial
    • Mechanics of Trial
    • The Expert at Trial
  7. Accident Case Study
    • Students assume roles from an actual NTSB accident
    • Investigation case
    • Experienced aviation trial attorneys instruct on depositions
    • Simulated trial – direct and cross examination

Course Duration:  2.0 Days

Register Here

Published on April 20th, 2018

Last updated on July 2nd, 2018


September 20, 2018 @ 8:00 am
September 21, 2018 @ 4:00 pm


USC Aviation Safety and Security Program
6033 W. Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045 United States
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