Rowlett v. Fagan

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 12-21-2016
  • Case #: A146351
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Egan, J.

Forensic accountants may present evidence of business valuation when their methods are confined to their expertise.

Rowlett appealed from a jury verdict for Defendant in his legal malpractice suit; the Supreme Court remanded to this Court to address remaining assignments of error. Plaintiffs argued that the trial court erred in allowing Defendants' forensic accountant expert to testify to the value of Plaintiff's business because the expert was not a business-valuation expert. At trial, Rowlett claimed that his attorneys mishandled a case, which resulted in him settling cases for far less than if the case had been handled properly. At issue during the trial was the value of Rowlett's interest in his company. The trial court permitted the testimony of Defendant's forensic accountant, who provided accounting evidence that she was qualified to give. The Court held that the forensic accountant used the business operating agreement and accounting methodology to calculate Rowlett's interest in the company, not other methods exclusive to business-valuation experts. Affirmed. 

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