Litigation Support: Preparing your case through a team concept

Litigation and fraud can be threatening and costly events for both companies and individuals. It is critical, then, to have the right firm in place to work with counsel.

“Legal matters of any kind have many moving parts that can require a lot of effort to effectively get going in a single, synchronized direction,” said Michael Kridel, a Rehmann principal and member of its litigation support team. “If the matter at hand involves financial consequences, whether it is lost profits, insolvency or dissolution of marriage, that effort can expand exponentially.”

Litigation often has to wend its way down a complicated road that includes contemplating legal action, filing a suit, conducting discovery, taking depositions, perhaps considering dispute resolution alternatives … and even more. And all of that can occur before making the first of many courtroom appearances, even if the case is settled before trial.

So, how can law firms safely travel down that road and ensure such vital preparation? By making every effort to secure the litigation support they receive has three important characteristics:

Unity

One common roadblock in complex litigation is that key experts often come from different firms, reducing the coordination and teamwork that is so important to providing effective support. Clay Price, Rehmann principal and fellow member of the Firm’s litigation support team, said, “Failing to add and share critical pieces of the puzzle because you have a team spread across different firms is a legitimate issue. You might have experts working dutifully, doing the best they can, but they may not be truly working as a team.”

Efficiency

While a cohesive team is important to ensure that critical information is shared among the important players, there’s also a financial benefit.

According to Price, attorneys and their litigants also benefit from the team concept by minimizing the time and effort required to manage multiple firms. After all, addressing what are often complex and time-consuming cases can be quite expensive. “Dealing with one team is much more efficient than dealing with multiple, possibly disjointed groups,” Price said.

Experience

Many of the elements comprising litigation support require hard-won, practical experience, Kridel said. “You can learn some of the stuff you need to know from a textbook, but the rest has to come from rolling up your shirt sleeves.” Litigation support can require forensic accounting one day, surveillance the next and economic damage analysis the day after that. The team you rely on must have proven experience in those and a wide range of other services.

In the end, Kridel said, you’ll know you have a qualified litigation support team if it has those three characteristics: a cohesive team of knowledgeable and tested experts working closely and efficiently together to bring “real world” experience to the table.

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There’s no substitute for experience

Each year, Rehmann’s litigation support team provides attorneys, insurance companies and others the information and support they need across a variety of scenarios:

Case Study #1

Something wasn’t quite right.

An investor in the process of having his interest in a physician management company bought out by his partners received a valuation of the business from his partners’ team. The problem: the valuation seemed low. Notably low. The investor decided to contest the valuation, challenging the assumptions contained in the report.

A call was placed to Rehmann, whose team of experienced advisors worked with both parties and their attorneys to develop a new valuation of the company. This new valuation — the result of tireless, meticulous and transparent effort — was roughly three times higher than the previous valuation.

Faced with thorough documentation and well-constructed logic, the parties settled on the value established by the Rehmann team, avoiding costly litigation.

Case Study #2

The jewelry store was burglarized on Mother’s Day weekend.

The team responsible for the break-in was professional, spending literally two days in the store while dismantling two walk-in safes.

But were the store’s losses as high as it claimed?

Rehmann’s litigation group was retained by an insurance company and several other defendants to determine the extent of the loss — including inventory and lost profits. The plaintiff claimed total losses in excess of $20 million, including nearly $5 million in lost profits.

Despite missing and non-existent financial records, Rehmann’s litigation team was able to overcome the plaintiff’s argument and the jury found no lost profits whatsoever and only a fractional loss of inventory.

Case Study #3

The insurance company was being sued for more than $1.5 million to cover what it suspected was an intentionally-set fire. Members of Rehmann’s litigation support team testified on behalf of the insurance company to help disprove the owners’ claim that someone had broken into their building and set the fire.

In theory, the gallons of gasoline poured throughout the building should have created an evidence-destroying inferno. But the building had no windows or other openings, preventing oxygen from entering and fueling the fire.

When investigators examined the remains, they found the motion detector intact and armed. Had someone broken into the building, the motion detector would have sent an alert. But it did not, indicating that the owners — the only party with keys to the building — poured the gasoline, set the motion detector and then started the fire.

This testimony contributed to the insurance company’s successful defense against the claim.

Meet The Rehmann Team

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