Being an Expert Witness

Yagla Expert Witness

Being an Expert Witness

Communication is the cornerstone of civilization. Words matter as much as actions. That’s why expert witnesses are so important in a litigious scenario. An expert witness is “a person engaged to give an opinion based on experience, knowledge, and expertise. The overriding duty of an expert witness is to provide independent, impartial, and unbiased evidence to the court or tribunal.”

Expert witnesses are called on to help jurors understand highly technical and complex subject matter to prove the defense or prosecution’s case and are invaluable.

There are certain traits and expertise an expert witness needs as their role in a lawsuit tends to fluctuate. Since expert witnesses have no stake in the outcome and can objectively interpret the facts, their testimony adds weight. Ava Lawson of Ellis Law Corp. says there are 5 attributes and expert witness must have: credentials, excellent communication skills, confidence, consistency, and attention to detail.

As one of the few woman- and veteran-owned small business owners, Tina Yagla definitely has the credentials and confidence. Recently, she was called as an expert witness for a case between a small business owner (SBO) and her landlord. To briefly sum up the case, the SBO thought she was going to be receiving a fully functional kitchen exhaust and make-up air system to meet City of Chicago code governing kitchen exhaust/ventilation requirements. The contract indicated that the landlord was to provide “black iron” duct but had no mention of the kitchen exhaust fan nor the required make-up air unit so consequently these items were NOT provided by the landlord. The SBO’s interpretation of the wording and the landlord’s interpretation was not put in writing and were not consistent with each other. The SBO did not have the budget to provide those additional required components and could possibly lose their livelihood.

Tina’s background of over 20 years in HVAC and MEP systems came heavily into play. She was able to review the contract/lease, review the design and permit documents, and visit the site to observe the construction/build-out progress all to determine if language matched the proposed outcome of the build.

After gathering this knowledge, Tina was able to communicate her understanding of the state of the construction, lease language, and general understanding of the phrase “black iron duct” to a mediator and lawyers from both parties. Tina exhibited all 5 traits of an excellent expert witness and was integral in helping the landlord win the case.

YES is more than a mechanical engineering firm. They are a collective of highly knowledgeable and intelligent engineers at the top of their game and ready to work on any opportunity.


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