If you face litigation against your hotel, bar, or nightclub, the way a hospitality industry expert can help you present your case may be obvious. Your inside witnesses will undoubtedly be able to lay out what you did and why, but an outside expert who can confirm you have followed industry standards, or otherwise explain why you should not be found at fault, can make all the difference in convincing a jury.
What might not be as clear, though, is the role your hospitality expert can play in looking at the weak points in your case. In almost any litigation, some aspects of your case are less powerful than others. The right expert can often review your arguments and evidence and provide guidance on what may work best. If you leverage this expertise carefully, you can prepare more fully to present the strongest positions at your disposal.
Separating Consulting from Witness Report
From the outset, you may want to prepare delineations between areas of your case on which a hospitality industry expert might testify at trial, as opposed to areas on which he or she will consult. Evidentiary laws generally require an expert witness disclose the materials on which he or she relies for forming opinions, so you usually should separate out materials that do not relate to that expected testimony. You can sometimes risk having to disclose trial strategy if you do not separate out one group of discussions from the other.
Reviewing Your Case
When you prepare your case, you can often benefit from talking through your arguments with a hospitality industry expert. You can talk through supporting materials and evidence that you believe bolster your position with the benefit of a non-biased expert to consider them. This often allows you to gain confidence in your strongest arguments, but it also creates an opportunity for you to hear about, and ideally shore up, the weaker arguments you have at your disposal. You may then want to drop or revise some of those points to help strengthen your overall case.
Similarly, a hospitality industry expert often understands the relative strength of different forms of evidence. He or she can review expected witness testimony, documentation, and other potential exhibits to make suggestions and identify weak points. The more preparation you can put into examining your case up front, the more you can do to mitigate or eliminate potential obstacles to your success.
Considering the Opposing Arguments
The advantages of engaging a hospitality industry expert to review your case do not end with review of your own case. Often, the greatest advantage of an outside expert can come with an ability to consider arguments the other side may raise. Often, your case preparation suffers from myopia, in that you have difficulty seeing fully how the other side might respond to your arguments, or create arguments that work against you. An industry expert, particularly one who has been involved in many similar cases, can often recall or comprehend the opposing point of view in a way you may not.
Your case does not exist in a vacuum. When litigation goes to trial, it usually occurs because those on both sides believe they have strong cases, and generally because neither side has a case so airtight that it can win on summary judgment. Engaging a hospitality industry expert can help you tighten your positions and prepare to respond to the other side, and prepare for the arguments you may see from the opposition. Getting this outside viewpoint may make the difference in how effective your litigation strategy can be.