Mulvey, Elizabeth: A Frequent Expert’s Percentage of Income from Testifying
Let’s listen in as lawyer Liz Mulvey of Boston cross-examines a neuroradiologist named Gordon Sze. Massachusetts doesn’t allow experts to be deposed in most cases, so the background data that allowed Mulvey to impeach the witness all came from culling his depositions from other cases and having the information at her fingertips.
Q. Doctor, you make a major part of your income every year testifying in cases like this, don’t you?
A. No. Not a major part.
Q. Is a third a major part?
A. I don’t consider it a major part, no.
Q. But the fact of the matter is, Doctor, that one third – 33 percent of your income comes from reviewing medical cases, doing depositions, and testifying in court, right?
A. One third of my income does, but the rest of it, of course, comes from my work at Yale.
Q. And that one third isn’t a major issue to you?
A. Well two thirds comes from Yale.
Q. All right. And you charge, Doctor, $500 an hour for the time that you spend reviewing records and films, true?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. And you charge $750 an hour to come and testify in court or at a deposition, don’t you?
A. No, that is incorrect. I charge $500 an hour.
Q. Have you ever testified to that, Doctor?
A. For depositions it is $750, but in Massachusetts if there are no depositions it is $500 here.
Q. Have you ever testified that you charge $750 an hour for trial as well?
A. That has not been the case for many, many years. So I can’t imagine that you have testimony to that effect. But if you do, it is very old, because that has not been the way for many years.
Q. There is a lot of testimony of yours out there, isn’t there Doctor?
A. I’m not sure.
Q. You have been doing this kind of work since 1991, right?
Q. And every year do you more and more of it, don’t you?
A. No, actually I have done considerably less in the last two years.
Q. All right. So was there a time when you actually made more than a third of your income doing this?
A. No. As I said, my average is about a third. But it has gone down in the last two years because I have been doing less.
Q. Well as recently as February you testified that it was a third of your income, right? February of this year?
A. I said on average.
Q. Do you recall testifying in a case in Maryland called Heras versus Stimpson, and you gave a deposition?
A. Let me see.
Q. Is that you, Gordon Sze?
A. Yes, that is me.
Q. And you were asked “What are your charges for review, deposition, and trial?” And you said “$500 an hour.”
Question: “For everything?”
Answer: “No. Actually for the time – the exact time of the deposition, and the exact time of the trial is 50 percent higher, and everything else is $500.”
A. Right. That’s incorrect. I charge $500 for a trial.
Q. Was that your testimony under oath, Doctor?
A. That appears to be, yes, five years ago.