The defense teams knew that the
stakes could be staggering. The Rand Corporation estimates that
asbestos litigation has so far cost businesses and insurers more
than $70 billion. It has forced at least 70 companies into
The lawyers also knew that
finding the right experts could make all the difference for their
clients, all major U.S. manufacturers. But with so immense a number
of asbestos cases already having targeted so wide a range of
industries, the lawyers believed that finding the right experts for
their cases would be difficult.
Not only must
these experts meet the usual requirements of knowledge and
expertise, they also must have direct knowledge of the particular
industries and a record clear of excessive testimony in other
The Challenge to IMS
The defense teams came to IMS with this
challenge: Find us experts who have in-depth knowledge of asbestos,
inside knowledge of these industries and reputations untarnished by
IMS responded immediately,
mobilizing teams of researchers and recruiters to search for experts
who met the lawyers' requirements. IMS understood that, for experts
to be taken seriously in these highly complex cases, they would need
superior credentials and at least
20 to 25 years of experience in their fields.
But with so many experts having been retained in so many asbestos
cases over so many years, it would be no easy task to find even a
single expert who had the requisite experience but did not have a
history of frequent testimony. Even more of a challenge would be
finding such experts who also had the necessary industry savvy.
Unlike some expert firms, IMS does not rely on a stable of
"usual-suspect" experts or a database of self-designated
professional witnesses. It tailors each search precisely to match
the client's specifications. A complex search can take great effort
to complete, as these cases proved.
"Finding an expert in the field of vermiculite mining and asbestos,
along with all our additional requirements in the same person, was a
tall order. We needed a clean expert who really knew his stuff. When
you begin peeling back the layers on most candidates, you almost
invariably find a major flaw in their experience, communication
or any other number of gotchas, including conflicts."