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Courts putting cap on engr hourly fee?

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Tom,

Unfortunately, courts can put a cap on anyone's fee, including a lawyer's.  
In my fee schedule for work performed on an hourly basis and when litigation 
is involved, I have my scheduled appearance at court, regardless of whether 
testimony is given, on a per diem basis as I have to clear my calendar for 
the entire day and am at the mercy of the attorneys as to how long I have to 
be at court.  My fee schedule for depositions is essentially the same, except 
it is on a half-day basis.  (Arizona's Rules of Civil Procedures prohibit 
deposing an expert for more than 4-hours, and limiting it to a single 
deposition unless a second deposition is approved by the court.)  When I am 
subpoenaed, I send a copy of my fee schedule to the attorney who requested 
the subpoena.  At one deposition, it started out by the attorney reading the 
time into the record and ended with the attorney again reading the time into 
the record.  When I submitted my bill, the attorney went to court and got the 
bill declared excessive and the court decided what my fee would be.  (BTW, 
that attorney is now a judge!)

Since that time, I have required payment in advance.  While I can't refuse to 
show up when subpoenaed, I don't have to give my opinion on anything if I 
haven't been paid.  I require some attorneys to have the payment to me a week 
before the scheduled deposition, while others I will agree to them having the 
payment at the deposition.  I think that it is doubly important to have the 
fee, or a substantial retainer in advance at a trial.

Incidently, my fee schedule requires payment of 50 percent of the per diem 
charges if my scheduled appearance is cancelled with less than 48 hours 
notice.


A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

. >      I went to a seminar Fri by ASCE on Forensic engineering at UC Irvine
. > where it was mentioned by the panel of lawyers that in the San Diego area
. > courts are putting a cap on expert wittness hourly rates. They mentioned 
. > about $300/hour as a maximum. While this is significantly more than i 
. > have ever charged hourly, the pricipal of courts ( run by judges who are 
. > lawyers ) setting our rates seems unfair.
. >      On the other hand, i don't see why anyone would charge significantly 
. > less now if this is the case.
. >      If anyone out there has personal experience of this i would 
. > appreciate hearing about it.
. > Thanks in advance.
. > 
. >      Tom Harris , SE
. >      Thousand Oaks, CA
. >